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Holidaymaker told to return pebbles to Cornish beach or face big fine

Holidaymaker told to return pebbles to Cornish beach or face big fine

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 3:44pm 22nd August 2018. (Updated at 8:36pm 22nd August 2018)

It turns out taking pebbles from Cornwall's beaches could land you in a lot of trouble.

One holidaymaker reportedly took them on the north coast and filled up the boot of the car.

They were traced and told to come back to Crackington Haven to return them, or face a fine of up to £1,000.

The incident happened several years ago but is now going viral online as more warning signs have been put up.

St. Gennys Parish Council says pebble pinching is actually illegal and has always been a big problem.

Several large red and yellow signs have now been put up at the beach warning visitors they could face prosecution.

crackington haven pebbles
The signs that have been put up at Crackington Haven

However, some locals believe the signs are too 'aggressive' and a few have been taken down.

Artist Jen Dixon lives nearby and her Facebook post about the issue has sparked hundreds of comments.

"Holidaymakers want to take a memento home from our beautiful beaches and sometimes you get the odd person who wants to take bags of them home, and that's where the story span out of control with one particular holidaymaker.

"We just need to get the word out, please don't take stones. We can understand a bit of driftwood or a seashell but the stones are there to help the coastline be maintained and are not replaceable, so I think we just need to get the word out".

Barry Jordan is the Clerk to St. Gennys Parish Council. He told Pirate FM that pebbles have been going missing from the beach for some time.

"We've had lots of complaints about people taking stones so we decided to put up some new signs but those signs have caused a bit of confrontation between locals.

"Parish councillors decided to remove a couple of the signs and left two are left up.

"The issue with the pebbles is that they are protected under the coastal protection act, and it prevents anybody taking anything from the shore of the beaches.

"It is to protect the countryside and the cliffs, the issue isn't necessarily about the signs, it is about people removing stones and it is illegal. It happens all over the country".

crackington haven pebbles
Officials hope the signs will help raise awareness

Barry hopes the publicity will help raise awareness that it is not only illegal but also harmful to the countryside.

He says if people become aware they may be able to take the signs down as people won't be doing it.

"In total Cornwall Council has a landownership interest in 57 beaches.

"The Coastal Protection Act 1949 was created to protect the coast of England against activities or actions that could lead to its erosion.

"We strongly urge visitors not to remove stones or sand from any of Cornwall's beaches.

"It may seem harmless, but given the many thousands of visitors to Cornwall's beaches every year every stone removed could have an impact on coastal erosion, natural flood defences and wildlife habitats".

Cornwall Council

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