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What do tourists steal from beaches?

Last week, tourism authorities in Brighton issued an appeal for tourists to return some of the stones they have been removing from the famous beach in the Southern English town.

travel Updated: Apr 03, 2012 16:49 IST
AFP

Last week, tourism authorities in Brighton issued an appeal for tourists to return some of the stones they have been removing from the famous beach in the Southern English town. 

With tongue firmly in cheek, the authority noted that it had thousands to replace, as a result of light-fingered visitors taking home souvenirs from the popular seaside resort's beach, which is well known for its stony composition.

Londoners, it claimed, were the worst offenders when it comes to snatching pebbles -- Brighton is just 50 minutes by train and a popular destination for a day trip from the British capital.

While the 'Bring a Pebble Back to Brighton' initiative bears all the hallmarks of a light-hearted publicity stunt, it carries a more serious message.

As the area's member of parliament Caroline Lucas found to her detriment in 2010 when she removed a pebble to take to Parliament in London, removing pebbles from the beach is against the law, as it forms part of the city's sea defenses.

That means that Brighton is one of a long list of destinations that have something of a problem with theft by unwitting tourists.

Tourists turned up in their hordes to grab a piece of the Berlin Wall when it came down, and authorities have struggled since to stop people from chipping off their own mementos from the sections that still remain -- many parts have now been coated in perspex to stop would-be wall thieves.

Laws prohibit similar activities at the Great Wall of China, while authorities in the town of Fucking, Austria, installed theft-proof signs after a spate of thefts from 'puerile' British and American tourists.