A French couple faces years in prison after stealing almost 90 kilos of sand from Sardinia, an Italian island known for its picturesque beaches. Alleged thieves have told police they carry the sand home because they want to keep it as a "souvenir", Italian media reported on Monday.
According to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, two French citizens poured white sand into 14 plastic bottles from Chia, a beach in southern Sardinia, and put them in the trunk of their SUV. The couple wanted to take him home as a memento of their vacation, but were instead caught on a ferry en route to Toulon, France.
The couple was charged with aggravated larceny on a public beach theft. According to the report, they face between one and six years in prison.
Sand theft is a growing concern on the island.
"The sandy beaches are one of Sardinia's main attractions," a local environmental scientist told the BBC. "There are two threats: one is due to erosion, which is partly natural and partly caused by rising sea levels due to climate change; the second is the theft of sand by tourists. "
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