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Italian firefighters use a helicopter to rescue a lost cow stuck below rocky cliffs in Sardinia, Italy. USA Today
A French couple is facing jail time after police say they tried to steal sand off of a beach in Sardinia, Italy.
Police discovered 14 bottles of sand, adding up to almost 90 pounds, according to CNN and the BBC. The couple stated they didn’t know they committed a crime but police say beaches on the island include signs in multiple languages alerting visitors to the regulations.
Per a 2017 law, it’s illegal to trade sand, pebbles and shells in the area and violations can result in fines of up to $3,300, according to the BBC. The couple also faces an aggravated theft charge, which could mean one to six years in prison.
CNN reports that theft from the white-sand beaches in Sardina is a common problem, and there is a market to sell Sardina shells and sand online.
“Sandy beaches are one of the main attractions of Sardinia,” Pierluigi Cocco, a Cagliari (the Sardinian capital) resident and environmental scientist, told the BBC. “There are two threats: one is due to erosion, which is partly natural and partly induced by the increasing sea level due to climate change; the second is sand stealing by tourists.”
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