As millions of us head for the great outdoors, Brits have been warned many of us could be breaking the law without realising it.

With warmer weather finally arriving, many of us will be heading to the countryside, beach or even our own gardens to make the most of the sun.

But could you be finding yourself on the wrong side of the law and be forced to pay a hefty fine as a result?

Studies have shown a correlation between warmer weather and an increase in crime rates, particularly violent crimes and burglary, but what about those seemingly innocent activities many of us could be guilty of?

Nick Ross, a legal expert at The University of Law (ULaw) looked at some of the most common springtime crimes.

Is it illegal to pick flowers?

Nothing says springtime like a vase of fresh daffodils or wildflowers in the house. However, be careful where you pick from, or you could end up led away in handcuffs – as two young girls found out in 2011 while picking flowers on a walk with their parents.

Flower picking is covered under two acts of legislation: Under s4(3) of the Theft Act 1968; and The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.

A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose.

The section is designed to ensure that if you pick wildflowers, you cannot be guilty of theft unless you do so with the intention of selling them for commercial purposes. This only applies to flowers growing wild, so it is possible to steal flowers from a person’s garden or flowers that are being cultivated or grown for example in a floral display in a park.

There are also certain wild plants that are protected, and it could be an offence to pick, uproot or destroy them under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Is it illegal to take pebbles from a beach?

Under the Coastal Protection Act 1949, the removal of any natural material such as sand and pebbles from public beaches in the UK is illegal.

Bans on seemingly harmless acts can be enforced by local councils, and can see offenders fined up to £1,000 as a penalty.

Yet while it may seem perfectly harmless, removing pebbles and other natural matter from the coast is in fact damaging to the environment.

As suggested by the name of the Act, and as stated in the introduction of the Act, taking natural material from a beach in the UK is illegal, in order to protect Britain's beaches “against erosion and encroachment by the sea”.

Pebbles and other natural matter act as a natural sea defence against coastal erosion, which many experts warn has become even more of an issue due to climate change.

Is it illegal to sunbathe naked?

While temperatures aren’t soaring just yet, it’s important to know the rules when it comes to sunbathing – especially if you plan to strip off to avoid tan lines.

It may be surprising to find out that topless sunbathing is perfectly legal for both men and women in the UK. Full public nudity is also not a crime but only if the person who strips off has no intention to cause alarm or distress. There are specific offences relating to intentional exposure.

A person who commits a lewd, obscene or disgusting act could be guilty of outraging public decency. Similarly, if a person intentionally exposes their genitals with the intention that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress, they could be guilty of an offence under s66 Sexual Offences Act 2003. So, naturists who do not intend for people to be alarmed would not be committing an offence whereas person who intentionally exposes their genitals would.

People can also be prosecuted under The Public Order Act 1986. Section 5 of the Public Order Act states that a person is guilty of an offence if they use threatening (or abusive) words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

For those hoping to catch some sunshine in the garden these same rules still apply. It’s advisable to let the neighbours know this is what you’re planning or find a part of the garden shielded from view, so you can avoid causing any unnecessary shock or a call to the police.