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Tourists bringing souvenirs from the beautiful beaches of Sardinia are fined thousands of pounds.
Over the past few days, customs officials on the Mediterranean island have imposed 41 fines of up to £ 2,580 for the seizure of sand, stones and shells, L’Unione Sarda reports.
If they got away with it, tourists with sticky fingers would steal 100 kg of things from the beaches.
The removal of Sardinia’s famous white sand, as well as seashells and rocks, was declared illegal in 2017 in an attempt to preserve their natural beauty.
Locals are particularly outraged by visitors who put a piece of beach in their pocket and then sell it online.
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Together with the police and military who guard the borders and track illegal online sales, the group hopes to keep Sardinia’s coastline intact.
So far this year, the police have fined £ 11,170.
According to local sources, in the three summer months of 2015 alone, five tons of sand were seized at Elmas airport.
Sand has also been seized at other airports on the island in Alghero and Olbia.
Photographs of two police officers show them returning the captured sand to the beach.
Pierluigi Cocco, environmental scientist and resident of the Sardinian capital Cagliari, told BBC that beaches were “the main reason tourists are attracted to the island of Sardinia.”
He urged people not to clean up the sand in order to preserve a “precious memory”, as it can help to reduce the number of beaches.
The scientist warned that the rise in sea levels caused by climate change is more likely to jeopardize the island if the beaches are in poor condition.
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