Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 November 2019

Tourists face up to six years in jail after stealing 'two large suitcases' of sand from Sardinia

A French couple were found with 40kg taken from the island's beaches in their car

Sardinian beaches are renowned for the fine quality of their sand. Alamy
Sardinian beaches are renowned for the fine quality of their sand. Alamy

A French couple have been caught with 40 kilograms of sand from Sardinia in their car.

Removing the island’s famed white sand is forbidden and the pair could face up to six years in prison for the theft following a clampdown.

They were found with 14 plastic bottles full of the sand as they tried to board a ferry and said they were taking it as a souvenir.

The island introduced a law in 2017 to ban the removal of sand due to reverse a growing trend.

People taking it can face a £2,750 (Dh12,243) fine or up to six years in jail.

Authorities at Olbia airport carry out bag checks to catch passengers taking the sand home with them.

In the past decade the authorities have seized in excess of 10 tonnes.

Airport officials confiscate about 2 tonnes of stolen sand a year and 500kg was seized at the ferry terminal last year.

“It’s striking, because it gives us an idea of how widespread taking sand from beaches really is,” Augusto Navone, the head of the Tavolara nature reserve, said.

Earlier this month, an Italian man, 40, who lives in the UK, was fined €1,000 after police caught him in possession of a bottle of sand from Gallura beach, on the island’s north coast.

The German embassy in Rome warned holidaymakers against stealing Sardinia’s sand.

It wrote: “Sardinia has some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, for example Cala Goloritzè, but the taking of sand, stones and molluscs is a serious problem.”

Updated: August 20, 2019 12:01 PM

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