JAIL: Tourists could face prison for desecrating beaches in protected areas

DRAWING hearts in the sand could land tourists in prison, the Canary Islands Government has warned in a beach vandalism crackdown.

Graffitied stones, crosses made out of volcanic rocks and a smiley face carved into a cliff face, are among the activities to be criticised by environmentalists.

The Maspalomas sand dunes on Gran Canaria are part of a protected area, but tourists have desecrated the natural surroundings with their ‘works of art’, according to green groups.

‘ABUSE’: Green groups have been joined by the government in condemning the actions of tourists

One organisation, the Telesforo Bravo-Juan Coello Foundation has backed tougher punishment for the tourists whose behaviour they say, is an ‘abuse to the environment’.

A government spokesperson said: “The Cabildo of Tenerife wants to express its condemnation towards this type of act against one of the main environmental and tourist patrimonies of the island.”

Perpetrators could be fined up to €600 or face prison, while visitors to the island will now have to get written permission before visiting the island.

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