Police fine Italy holidaymakers for reserving sunloungers

Tourists who bag the best beach spots face fines of £200

Charming coastal beach resort

Police in Italy are cracking down on tourists who get up early to bag the best beach spots by leaving personal belongings on sunloungers.

The initiative, called Operation Safe Sea, gives officials the right to issue fines of €220 (approx £200) along Italy's coastline to people who do not comply with requests.

See also: Brits are beating Germans in the sunlounger war

See also: Cruise firms ban passengers from reserving sunloungers

Personal property has been removed in Tortoreto, Cosenza and Salerno and some beaches have banned chairs and umbrellas before 8.30am.

A report in Italian newspaper La Repubblica saus that 37 deck and beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, plus towels and bathing suits were confiscated by the Livorno coastguard in western Tuscany, while the Tuscan town of Cecina has banned anyone from leaving their belongings on the beach before 8.30am.

The newspaper said sunspot hogging has been a problem since Italy first became a popular tourist destination, after the Second World War.

This is not the first time Italian authorities have taken action against the "ancient and ingrained habit" of holidaymakers reserving sunspots.

It introduced a similar initiative almost 10 years ago, reports the Guardian. In 2007, coastguard officials fined six tourists about £700 for leaving 10 towels on the beach before 6am at a resort in Liguria, northwestern Italy.

Operation Safe Sea is also cracking down on people who charge for renting out loungers and umbrellas on public beaches.

Ten of the world's most crowded beaches

Ten of the world's most crowded beaches

The best Amalfi Coast has to offer, from TripAdvisor users