Italian authorities are reminding tourists that anyone caught stealing sand from the picturesque Sardinian beaches will be fined up to $4800 after a series of major sand theft cases were reported this summer.
The crimes included the attempted theft of four tonnes of sand and hundreds of shells as tourists seek free souvenirs while on holiday.
The tiny amounts of sand hidden in plastic bottles and bags have been confiscated from the luggage of holidaymakers with substantial fines handed out as a result.
Several tourists have also been caught stealing pebbles, stones and shells which are also forbidden to remove from the Italian island of Sardinia where tourists from all around the world visit in large numbers to enjoy the beautiful white-sand beaches throughout the summer.
One of the most recent cases was recorded on August 27 by the Italian Agency for Excise Duties, Customs and Monopolies.
According to the statement made by the agency there were "large quantities of sand, pebbles and shells were found in the possession of some departing passengers from the Riviera del Corallo airport in Sardinia."
Agents from the Agency together with their colleagues from Guardia di Finanza seized the goods before the passengers could leave the country with them.
The officials seized in total 4,100kg of sand contained in plastic bottles, 476 sea pebbles and 256 shells.
All of the souvenirs were illegally taken from beaches such as Is Aruttas, Porto beach Palmas, Lido di Alghero, Gabbiani beach and Porto Alabe beach located across the Italian island.
Visitors from the UK as well as other countries like Spain, Romania and Switzerland have been caught stealing sand and pebbles from the beaches along with local tourists from Italy's major cities such as Milan and Rome.
Italian officials have repeatedly warned tourists that if they are caught stealing from the beaches or the sea they will face fines starting at 500 euros ($800).
- Newsflash/ Australscope
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