Beach goers warned that taking pebbles away is illegal

PUBLISHED: 14:50 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:59 25 August 2018

Sheringham beach celebrates Norfolk Day 

Sheringham beach celebrates Norfolk Day Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Beach goers in our region have been reminded it is illegal to take pebbles away after a man was threatened with legal action for taking some.

The South end of Great Yarmouth beach, the Power Station dominates the view looking towards Gorleston-on-sea. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, 4th February 2018. Picture: JAIME-LEA  TAYLORThe South end of Great Yarmouth beach, the Power Station dominates the view looking towards Gorleston-on-sea. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, 4th February 2018. Picture: JAIME-LEA TAYLOR

The advice came from North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council after a holidaymaker stole some pebbles from a beach in Cornwall, leading to the legal action threat.

Councils are concerned about the issue as rocks and pebbles act as a natural sea defence, reducing the rate of coastal erosion.

Removing stones from beaches is illegal under the Coast Protection Act 1949.

North Norfolk District Council say it has received reports of people removing beach material in the past.

A spokesperson said: “The beaches are our primary and natural sea defence. Monitoring in North Norfolk shows there is less sand and material on the beach, therefore, removal of any significant volumes of beach material is not desirable.”

The destructive nature of coastal erosion has already impacted the area with homes being lost at Hemsby earlier this year as a striking example.

In July a map revealed hundreds of people in Norfolk could find their homes in similarly precarious positions in the following decades due to erosion.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council says it is not aware of any issues relating to people stealing pebbles but a licence is required to remove any material from the public beaches maintained by them.

A statement from the authority said: “Great Yarmouth beaches are stable. Other areas along the coast are subject to change which the borough council monitors as part of our long term coastal management.”

Norfolk Rocks is a project that was set up last year which encourages members to buy pebbles and decorate them before hiding them for other people to find.

A Member of the group, known only as Toni ‘BT’, says the group makes it clear that they “do not promote taking any rocks from the beach”.

He said: “We have a very obvious message posted at the top of our facebook group about this. There are plenty of DIY and garden centres that sell them for landscape and crafting.”

Pebble theft has become so common in Cornwall that the council was forced to put up several signs warning it is illegal.

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