Tourists fined thousands of dollars for taking sand and shells from beaches in Sardinia

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Collecting shells from the beach might seem like an innocent practice, but on beaches Sardinia it could land you in serious trouble. Forty-one tourists were recently fined for taking sand, stones, and shells from beaches in Sardinia in 2020.

The practice of taking sand from beaches in Sardinia was made illegal in 2017.

In 2020, the Italian police seized over 200 lbs of sand, shells, and stones from tourists. Fines ranged from between $600 and $3,650 according to CNN. The practice is even worth jail time. In 2019, a couple faced six years in prison after stuffing 90 lbs of the sand into plastic bottles.

Beaches with pink or very white sand are particularly targeted, the island’s Forest Rangers told CNN last year. “We found a website that was selling our sand as souvenirs. It’s become a very known phenomenon here in Europe,” he said.

Sardinia is not the only place with stringent rules against coming home with a natural souvenir from the beach. Lalaria Beach in Greece banned the practice in 2018.