We’ve all been tempted to bring a little bit of paradise home from our holidays.
But the urge has backfired on a French couple, who are facing up to six years in prison for removing sand from a beach in Sardinia.
They allegedly ‘stole’ around 40kg of sand from Chia beach on the Mediterranean island.
Police said they discovered the white sand stashed in 14 plastic cola bottles in the couple’s car as it boarded a ferry from Sardinia to France last week.
According to Italian media, the couple were about to depart from Porto Torres to Toulon when they were stopped by police.
If found guilty, the pair could face between one and six years in jail for aggravated theft.
Police told 89.7 Bay that the tourists said they were unaware of the laws about removing sand, but noted that the island’s beaches have signs in several languages informing visitors.
Theft of white sand from Sardinia’s beaches is very common and there is an illegal market for it on the internet.
A police spokesman said: ‘The people of Sardinia are very angry with tourists that steal shells and sand, because it’s a theft from future generations that also puts at risk a delicate environment here.’