Travelers heading to Italy were warned of the heavy penalties they would face if they took sand away from beaches that are protected.
The local laws prohibit taking animals, plants, shells, sand or pebbles from the designated beach.
Two tourists are now facing massive fines of nearly £30,000 after being caught red-handed with sand taken from 11 protected beaches in Italy.
On August 14, the pair was arrested as they were about to board a ferry from Olbia in Sardinia bound for Livorno on the Italian mainland.
A search of their luggage turned up 11 specimen jars labeled with sand and each one marked by the name of beach from which it was taken.
According to Italian media, officials from the Sardinian Sea Port System Authority seized the haul.
Local law prohibits the taking of sand from beaches, as well as shells, stones, plants, and animals.
According to Italian media, fines for each offense range between EUR 500 and EUR 3,000 (429 GBP to 2,573 GBP).
This could result in fines totaling up to EUR 33,300 (GBP 28303).
Labels found on jars show that the tourists – Italians living in Modena – took samples of sand from Capriccioli Beach, Principe Beach, Lu Impostu Beach, Cala Brandinchi Beach, Liscia Ruja Beach, Romazzino Beach, and Grande Pevero Beach.
The second theft on the beaches of Sardinian in only three days.
Two Italian tourists tried to board the Olbia ferry with shells and a pinna nobilis protected clam in their luggage.