41 face fines of Dh13,400 for stealing sand from protected beach

Web Report/Sardinia
Filed on June 6, 2021 | Last updated on June 6, 2021 at 12.12 pm

41 people are facing fines for removing sand, shells and pebbles from the famed beach.

Dozens of people are facing fines for removing sand, shells, and pebbles from the beaches of Sardinia.

According to the BBC, Authorities said on Saturday that the 41 people had been responsible for stealing a total of 100kg of sand from the beach in separate incidents. They could face fines of up to 3,000 euros (Dh13,406).

The island, located off the coast of Italy, has a strict rule against removing any sand from its treasured white beaches. The trade in Sardinian sand pebbles and shells was made illegal in 2017.

Islanders have complained of tourists stealing sand from their beaches for years, with mainly European tourists bottling the sand to keep as a souvenir or auction online.

Military and customs police in Sardinia have attempted to crack down on the practice by scouring online adverts and checking luggage for attempts to smuggle sand. Police said they had so far collected 13,000 euros (Dh58,000) in fines for the offence.

The island's Forestry Corps has also said that taking sand could, over time, destroy Sardinia's beaches, which were created over millions of years.

A French couple was caught with 40 kg of the protected sand in the boot of their SUV in 2019. The tourists had told Sardinian police that they intended to take it as a souvenir and were not aware of the rules against doing so.

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