TOURISTS traveling to Italy have been warned they face hefty fines if they take sand from sheltered beaches.
Local laws prohibit taking sand, shells, pebbles, animals, or even plants from designated beaches.
Two tourists now face hefty fines of nearly £30,000 after being caught red-handed using sand from 11 sheltered beaches in Italy.
The couple were arrested while boarding a ferry in Olbia, Sardinia, on August 14 bound for Livorno on the Italian mainland.
However, a search of their luggage revealed 11 sand sample jars labeled with the name of the beach from which they were taken.
According to Italian media, officials from the Sardinian seaport authority confiscated the cargo.
Local law prohibits taking sand, shells, pebbles, animals or even plants from beaches.
Fines typically range from €500 to €3,000 (£429 to £2,573) for each offence, according to Italian media.
This could result in a total fine of up to €33,000 (£28,303).
Labels on the sand jars show that the tourists – Italian citizens living in Modena – took the samples at Capriccioli, Principe, Lu Impostu, Cala Brandinchi, Liscia Ruja, Romazzino and Grande Pevero beaches.
This is the second case of theft on Sardinia’s beaches in just three days.
Two Italian holidaymakers had attempted to board an Olbia ferry with a protected Pinna nobilis mussel and some mussels in their luggage.