Tourist Fined £890 For Stealing Sand From Sardinian Beach
A French tourist has been fined €1,000 (£890) by Italian authorities for stealing sand from a beach.
Local authorities in Sardinia recovered around two kilograms of sand from the person's luggage when they tried to pass through Elmas Airport.
It's understood that while checking the man's bags, officers from the Naval Base in Cagliari who were on duty at the airport, discovered a bottle filled with stones.
According to reports, the white sands of the island are considered to be extremely precious and are protected.
Under a 2017 law, it is illegal to trade in the island's sands and pebbles, and is usually punishable with fines of up to €3,000 ($3,330; £2,750). However, people who try to remove them from Sardinia can face between one and six years in prison for theft.
In a press release reported by local media, such acts of theft can be detrimental to the island's environment.
It read: "These behaviours not only harm the environment but also compromise the maintenance of the coastline for the sustainable development of tourism in Sardinia."
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This isn't the first time tourists have been stopped after attempting to leave the island with copious amounts of sand.
Last year, a couple were arrested and faced years behind bars - due to the aggravating circumstances of having taken a public utility - after allegedly stealing 40kg (6.3 stone) of sand and pebbles.
But while the practice may seem to be harmless, Pierluigi Cocco, a Sardinian resident and environmental scientist, told the BBC that it poses a 'threat' to the island.
He said: "Sandy beaches are one of the main attractions of Sardinia. There are two threats: one is due to erosion, which is partly natural and partly induced by the increasing sea level due to climate change; the second is sand stealing by tourists.
"Only a fraction of the tourists visiting Sardinia spend their time digging up to 40kg of sand each. 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 - the main reason why tourists are attracted by the island of Sardinia."
The problem reached such levels back in 1994 that access to the famous pink beach on Budelli island to the north-east of Sardinia was banned as authorities feared for its future.
And the problem continues to this day, with tourists, mainly from other parts of Europe, attempting to take the island's precious sand and pebbles to sell.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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