Tourists Caught Smuggling Hundreds Of Seashells And Tonnes Of Sand Out Of Italy

Holidaymakers trying to steal hundreds of pebbles and seashells, as well as sand from the Italian island Sardinia, are set for hefty fines.

Local police have revealed that they discovered nearly 220 pebbles and around 160 sea shells weighing 8.6 kilograms (13.5 st) as they scanned the luggage of two women from Germany.

The holidaymakers were about to board their plane at Cagliari Airport.

Local regulations say that anyone caught smuggling pebbles and seashells outside Sardinia can be fined between 500 and 3,000 Euros (GBP 430 to 2,600).

Some of the stones shells taken from German tourists caught by police and customs at Cagliari airport, Italy, in June, 2022.
(Guardia di Finanza/Newsflash)

The Guardia di Finanza officials added that the bags of two other German tourists contained around 480 pebbles and 180 sea shells.

They did not reveal the size of the holidaymakers’ penalties.

A further three tourists from Spain and one each from Russia, Lithuania and Italy will also face fines over pebbles and seashells found in their luggage.

The news that taking sand home can result in fines made international headlines, but the latest reports make it clear that it also applies to pebbles and seashells.

Guardia di Finanza said in a statement that they had confiscated more than 19 tonnes of sand overall from holidaymakers’ bags in their latest crackdown.

The militarised law enforcement agency is under the authority of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Some of the stones shells taken from German tourists caught by police and customs at Cagliari airport, Italy, in June, 2022.
(Guardia di Finanza/Newsflash)

The unit normally focuses on financial crime and smuggling but over the summer it seems also starts to tackle the theft of sand, pebbles and sea shells.

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily. It recorded more than 3.4 million tourists in 2019.

Cagliari Elmas Airport is the major international airport of Sardinia. It is located a few miles outside the city.

Reports say that one of the most popular beaches for sand thieves is the tiny island of Budelli that is in northern Sardinia, which is famous for its Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach) which gets its colour from microscopic fragments of corals and shells,

Italy is the second-most popular holiday destination of Germans, according to the German Travel Union. Spain tops the ranking, with Turkey in third place.

Spain tops the list when it comes to British holidaymakers, according to the comparison website Finder.com. The platform reports that France makes the second place, with Italy in third.

Some of the stones shells taken from German tourists caught by police and customs at Cagliari airport, Italy, in June, 2022.
(Guardia di Finanza/Newsflash)

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Thomas HochwarterSub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash

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