1:42 PM PDT, June 6, 2021
Over the last year, 220 pounds worth of sand and seashells were taken from Sardinia’s beaches by tourists and later returned to their proper location by officials.
The island’s sand is protected, so tourists can find themselves looking at fines or jail time for attempting to steal it.
According to a statement made by Italy’s finance police, security checks at the island’s Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport are regular for departing passengers. Authorities also monitor popular websites where the sand was being sold.
Even with a regional law introduced in 2017 that made it illegal to take sand from Sardinia’s beaches, the police said 41 people had been fined with penalties ranging from 500 to 3,000 euros — which is equivalent to $600 to $3,650 USD.
According to CNN, most tourists aim to sell the sand and shells or keep them as souvenirs.