Panorama of the beaches of Chia, Sardinia, Italy.
The pair, who said they were ignorant to the Mediterranean island's stringent sand laws, were caught with 14 bottles of the island's precious grains.
The couple were charged with aggravated theft and face up to a $3,300 fine and six years behind bars.
But Sardinia's famed white sand is a protected resource, and removing it from the island is an offence normally punishable by fines of between €500 to €3,000. The island has been battling for years to stop sand smuggling.
The duo were stopped as they prepared to board a ferry that sails to Toulon, France.
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Italian finance police said they discovered the white sand from Chia beach stashed in 14 plastic bottles in the couple's auto during a check as it boarded a ferry Sardinia to France on August 15. Most people are nabbed at the airport and are forced to hand over the stolen sand, which is returned to the beach. The sand was earmarked for a resort under construction, the Guardian reported, and police believe that it was taken to sell under the table to competing developments.
Airport agents are said to confiscate two tonnes of stolen sand a year, in addition to another 500kg taken last summer from ferry passengers at Olbia's port.
Last year, one beach even considered banning large bags and towels to cut down on theft.
Four tourists were fined €1,000 ($A1638) each after they were caught trying to take the sand home that year.
"Only a fraction of the tourists visiting Sardinia spend their time digging up to 40kg of sand each", Mr Cocco told the BBC.