- A French couple is facing up to six years imprisonment after they were caught by authorities taking bottled sand from an Italian beach.
- The pair who wanted to keep the sand as “souvenir” were caught just when they were about to board a ferry on the way back to Toulon, France.
- Over 10 tons of sand had been stolen from the Sardinia beach over the past years.
A French couple is facing up to six years of jail time after getting caught stealing almost 90 pounds of Sand from beach in Italy.
Authorities caught the couple with 14 bottles containing around 50 kilograms of white sand which they reportedly wanted to keep as “souvenir” from their trip to a beach in Southern Sardinia.
The bottles were caught in the trunk of their SUV as they were about to board a ferry en route to Toulon, France.
The two were charged with theft under aggravated circumstance and are fined up to $3,330.
A Facebook group named “Sardegna Rubata e Despredata” or Sardinia, robbed and plundered, had posted pictures of the seized bottles of sand sent by security officials.
One of the page administrators told CNN Travel that the purpose of the page was to raise awareness about the pilfering of Sardinia beaches.
Meanwhile, an environmental scientist told the BBC that the island’s sandy beaches are under threats from the environment and mankind.
“Sandy beaches are one of the main attractions of Sardinia. There are two threats: one is due to erosion, which is partly natural and partly induced by the increasing sea level due to climate change; the second is sand stealing by tourists,” Pierluigi Cocco, a resident of the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, and environmental scientist, told the BBC.
“Only a fraction of the tourists visiting Sardinia spend their time digging up to 40kg of sand each. But if you multiply half that amount times 5% of the one million tourists per year, in a few years that would contribute significantly to the reduction of beaches – the main reason why tourists are attracted by the island of Sardinia,” Cocco added.
Tourists, including Italians, would allegedly bottle the sand up and auction them online.
Over 10 tons of sand had been taken away from the Mediterranean Island’s shores over the past years according to reports.