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That Sand You Brought Back From Vacation? Totally Illegal

That Sand You Brought Back From Vacation? Totally Illegal

Another day, another sand-stealing tourist: After taking 88 pounds of white sand from Sardinia, a French couple is facing up to six years in prison, reports CNN. The couple, who had been vacationing on the Italian island, were arrested after police discovered the sand in 14 bottles during safety and security checks of vehicles waiting to board a ferry to Toulon, France.

In 2017, a law went into effect, making it illegal to take sand, pebbles, or seashells from Sardinian beaches, reports the BBC. The couple told police they weren’t aware of the rule, but officials say beaches on the island have signs in multiple languages warning visitors that it is, in fact, against the law. 

Stealing sand from the island is such a problem that there’s even a Facebook page—“Sardegna Rubata e Depredata,” or “Sardinia, Robbed and Plundered”—devoted to raising awareness of the issue. “During the last 20 years of activity we have seized tens and tens of tons of material. . . . Every year we take care to bring everything back to the places of origin at the end of the summer season,” said one of the page administrators, according to CNN.