<p>Tourists are taking sand and shells from Sardinian beaches</p>

Tourists are taking sand and shells from Sardinian beaches

Tourists fined £2,580 for stealing sand and shells from Sardinia beach

The practice has been illegal since 2017

Cathy Adams
Monday 07 June 2021 10:14
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Tourists have been fined €3,000 euros (£2,580) for taking sand and shells from Sardinian beaches.

Customs police on the Italian holiday island have issued fines to 41 people who tried to leave with 100kg of sand, seashells and beach rocks, according to local media.

In some cases, it’s understood tourists put the beach goods for sale online, which is illegal and has been punishable by fines of up to €3,000 since 2017.

Sardinia is gradually reopening to tourism following Covid travel restrictions.

The island, part of Italy, sits on the UK’s “amber” list and any returning visitors will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

Last summer, we reported that a couple on holiday in Sardinia faced up to six years in jail after they stole some sand as a souvenir.

The French couple were caught with 14 plastic bottles full of sand, weighing 40kg, in the boot of their car. They claim to have not known the practice was forbidden and had no idea they were committing an offence when they removed the sand from Chia in the south of Sardinia.

The Italian island’s white-sand beaches are highly protected, with harsh penalties for those who try to remove any sand – from one to six years in jail for theft with the aggravating circumstance of having stolen an asset of public utility.

Although taking sand from a beach may not sound like a big issue, local scientists say that the practice is extremely detrimental.

Sardinian environmental scientist Pierluigi Cocco told the BBC that Sardinia’s sandy beaches, one of its main attractions, are under threat from both erosion and tourists removing the sand.

“Only a fraction of the tourists visiting Sardinia spend their time digging up to 40kg of sand each,” he said. “But if you multiply half that amount times 5 per cent of the one million tourists per year, in a few years that would contribute significantly to the reduction of beaches.”

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