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British Tourists Warned Face Fines for Taking Pebbles Off Skiathos Beach

VOLOS, Greece – As hordes of tourists are descending early on Greece in what could be another record-breaking year, those from the United Kingdom have been told to beware of taking pebbles off an iconic beach on the island of Skiathos or they’ll be fined.

The popular island was brought into more attention when it featured in the film Mamma Mia, especially the iconic Lalaria Beach, named after the ancient Greek word of pebble, where it’s unlawful to remove them.

Removing the stones could cost $1082 in a penalty at the same time Greece is courting tourists and luxury resorts that are taking over public beaches with umbrellas and sun beds that must be rented at a hefty price.

The rule on Skiathos was implemented in 2018 to prevent the beach from being stripped as it became more frequented in the wake of the film that was a sensation and raised tourism there, the site Travel and Tour World reporting on the warning.

https://www.travelandtourworld.com/news/article/british-tourists-to-face-a-hefty-fine-in-greece/

A sign informs visitors that taking the white stones is not allowed. It states: “It is strictly prohibited to remove pebbles or stones from anywhere on the beach,” but it’s sometimes ignored or disdained.

To encourage compliance, authorities on the island have put a so-called Lalaria Beach Pebble Return Box at the regional airport there as visitors cab be searched for taking them as well as looking into suitcases and belonging.

Officials have posted signs urging tourists to “Take a Picture, Not a Pebble” to try to prevent the thefts. In 2018, the Harbor Master told the British newspaper The Guardian that “Lalaria is not a protected site so fines were announced in extremis.”

“Now that all these measures have been taken we hope they will have a deterrent effect,” the chief said. The island town’s spokesperson, Athina Papageorgiou, said the rules were necessary given Skiathos’ rising popularity at the time.

She said then that, “On the back of the tourism surge there’s been a noticeable decline in the stones. It may be a small thing to take one here and there, but when that is repeated multiple times, the result is there is nothing left.”

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