This Massachusetts town will fine people who steal rocks from its beaches

Westport-5/18/16-Location of Westport, a woman and child explore the rocky shoreline along East Beach Road. Boston Globe staff Photo by John Tlumacki (business)
John Tlumacki /Globe Staff/File 2016
A woman and child explore the rocky shoreline along East Beach Road in Westport, Mass.

WESTPORT, Mass. — A Massachusetts town is sick of homeowners and businesses raiding its beaches for free landscaping materials.

So the coastal community of Westport has approved a town bylaw that would impose a $250 fine on people who take rocks or vegetation from town-owned beaches.

Sean Leach, vice President of the Westport Beach Committee, says he’s seen people and commercial landscapers fill up trucks with rocks that they use for fire pits, rock gardens, and driveway aprons.


He says winter berries and other vegetation are taken by people to be used as Christmas decor.

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The rock pilfering affects the resiliency of the beaches, which are important in protecting the coast.

The town plans to put up signs in beach areas reminding people about the ordinance.