Sandy souvenirs taken from tourists

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Customs officials in Sardinia say they have seized several kilos of illegally collected sand, seashells and stones from tourists trying to bring home mementos of their holidays on the Italian island.

Sardinia is famous for its beautiful beaches, but it is struggling to cope with the environmental impact of tourism, as travellers ignore appeals to leave the area intact and instead bring home sand and shells as souvenirs.

A total of 4.1 kilos of sand from various beaches had been confiscated customs officials at Alghero Airport tweeted on Sunday. The so-called "smugglers" have been issued fines of up to 3,000 euros ($A4,839).

"Every year, Sardinia's beaches suffer irreparable damage from people who carry away sand, stones and shells without any respect. This is not only wrong, but also illegal," the customs officials said.

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