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Italian police seize sand, shells; fine tourists in Sardinia

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Italy Illegal Souvenirs
Bags of sand, shells and stones were seized at Sardinia’s airports and ports. (Photo: AP) 

(Updated: )

ROME: Dozens of tourists will have to pay dearly for their souvenirs from Sardinia’s pristine beaches.

Italian media on Saturday (Jun 5) said customs police on the Mediterranean island issued fines of up to €3,000 (US$3,600) to 41 people who in recent days tried to leave the island with a total of 100kg of sand, seashells and beach rocks.

The LaPresse news agency said in some cases tourists had put the beach booty up for sale on the Internet, feeding a flourishing, illicit market for such souvenirs, including from swank resort areas along the Italian island’s Emerald Coast.

Bags of sand, shells and stones were seized at Sardinia’s airports and ports in keeping with a 2017 regional law that established fines ranging from €500 (US$600) to €3,000. 

The seized sand was brought back by authorities to the beaches when possible.

The law aims to prevent the cumulative effect of removing sand and shells by the millions of tourists who flock each year to the Mediterranean island, which is renowned for long stretches of pristine sandy beaches.

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