Amroth beach stone removal 'down' since warning signs erected
Fewer stones are being removed from a Welsh beach since signs were put up warning visitors they could face prosecution, business owners claim.
The stones on Amroth beach act as a sea defence and residents are concerned for the future of the village.
Signs were put up after people were seen using lorries after dark to loot the beach of its precious pebbles.
Councillor Tony Baron said "large-scale removal" had "diminished quite dramatically" thanks to the signs.
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"About a year ago we found that large-scale removal of stones was taking place," Mr Baron explained.
"Not children taking one or two pebbles, but literally we saw people coming with trucks; four men going on to the beach and lifting stones off and putting them into the truck.
"We even had a case of a quad bike and a trailer going on to the beach and stones being removed, and that necessitated some action."
He added: "Once these defences are gone, the village goes."
The signs - erected by Amroth community council last summer - read: "The stones on this beach are part of Amroth's vital sea defences. Removal is a criminal offence. Offenders are liable to prosecution."
It is illegal to remove stones from a public beach without a licence under the Coastal Protection Act 1949.
Mr Baron claimed "pilfering" has reduced since the signs were erected at the Pembrokeshire beach.
"The amount of removal has diminished quite dramatically," he added.