Tourist Fined More Than $1,000 For Stealing Sand From Italian Beach

The people of the Italian island of Sardinia take great pride in their beaches, specifically the colorful mix of crystals and quartz that many have called the most beautiful sand in the world.

Now one man is learning the hard way that, as gorgeous as it is, the sand must stay on the beach.

A French tourist who tried to take some of the beach home with him has been fined 1,000 euros, or about $1,200 in U.S. dollars, for stealing more than four pounds of sand and trying to smuggle it out in his luggage on the flight home, according to CNN.

The sand has been protected by the Italian government since 2017 and beach-goers face fines, and even jail time, for removing sand from the local beaches. The man was apprehended at Cagliari Elmas Airport on September 1 after he was found in possession of a bottle containing 4.4 pounds of sand.

A spokesman for the island’s Forest Rangers told CNN: “The bottle was confiscated and is in now in our operating room where we hold these confiscated items. At the end of the year we usually have many bottles of sand accumulated. Last year we found a website that was selling our sand as souvenirs. It’s become a very known phenomenon here in Europe.”

In fact, last year alone a French couple tried to steal 90 pounds of sand from Sardinia’s beaches and smuggle it home.

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