A French couple who were caught with 14 plastic bottles worth of Sardinian sand in the back of their SUV face up to six years in jail.
They claimed they wanted the sand, from Chia Beach, as a souvenir and didn’t realise it was an offence to take it.
Police found the 40kg of sand as the pair were about to board a ferry in Porto Torres to Toulon, France.
Sardinia is famous for its white sand and it is strictly forbidden to remove it.
For years, residents have complained about the theft of sand, pebbles and shells by visitors to the island.
A new law came into force in 2017 forbidding the trading of Sardinia’s natural assets.
Visitors, mainly Europeans, bottle the sand up to auction on the internet.