Tourist Tried to Smuggle 90 Pounds of Pebbles

( – When people go on vacation, they like to take souvenirs home with them to remind them of their travels. For some, this might be a t-shirt, a magnet, or something from a specialty shop. Others like to collect a small amount of sand from a beach they particularly enjoy or that holds special memories. However, that’s not always legal, as one tourist recently found out the hard way.

Sardinian Authorities Seize Rocks

A French man who visited the Mediterranean island of Sardinia was trying to take a ferry back to Nice after his trip, but he was stopped by Italian customs agents. Upon inspection of his vehicle, they found 90 pounds of pebbles that the man had reportedly collected from the beaches in his trunk.

In Sardinia, it’s illegal to remove sand or pebbles from the shores of the island’s beaches because it contributes to erosion. This law has been in effect since 2017, so it’s nothing new. Local officials were worried that digging up the beaches would contribute to a decline in the beaches, which is one of the main reasons tourists visit the island to begin with. However, because there’s a massive demand for it, that doesn’t stop people from pilfering from the shores.

There’s an online market for the sand, typically from collectors. However, stealing from the beach isn’t without its consequences either. Those who are caught face fines ranging from $544 on the low end to $3,265. Still, authorities maintain their sole goal isn’t to harass the tourists, but rather to protect their land.

Italian authorities arrested the Frenchman, who faces the maximum fine and potentially jail time in the case.

Other Beaches That Prohibit Collecting Sand or Rocks

Sardinia isn’t the only place where people can be arrested for collecting sand or rocks from its shores. In the United States, there’s a place called Glass Beach in Northern California. Here, the shores are lined with sea glass of all colors, shapes, and sizes.

People flock to the beach for its glass, but they are forbidden from taking any of it home with them. Doing so can lead to arrest if they’re caught. Locals are trying to preserve the beauty of the shores.

There are some beaches in Florida, California, and Hawaii, where theft can lead to up to $100,000 in fines. So those who plan to collect a few grains — or a bottle — of sand to take home with them should do their due diligence and make sure they’re not breaking the law.

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