By Hugh Dunnett, Crime Correspondent
A daytripper has been fined £75 after removing a single pebble from Aldeburgh beach and taking it home as a keepsake.
Mum-of-two Lorraine Fisher, 34, from Ipswich, had been enjoying an idyllic trip to the posh Suffolk resort on Sunday when she slipped a small brown stone from the beach into her pocket.
But the theft was spotted by an eagle-eyed police officer, who arrested her on the spot for risking “significant coastal erosion”.
Fisher appeared before Woodbridge magistrates today where she pleaded guilty to theft contrary to the Coastal Protection Act 1949.
Solicitor Steve Walshe, prosecuting, said: “PC Peter Grimes was on duty in Aldeburgh at 3.30pm yesterday, walking along the promenade when a family on the pebbled beach caught his eye.
“He saw a woman, now known to be the defendant, picking up a small stone and putting it in her pocket.
“When questioned, she said it would be a nice keepsake of the Suffolk coast.”
Peter Pears, defending, said his client had no idea what she was doing was wrong. She offered to return the pebble to the exact spot where she had picked it up.
He said Fisher, a homemaker, was of previous good character.
Benjamin Britten, chairman of the bench, said there was no excuse for removing a stone from Aldeburgh beach.
“Some people say we should not make a song and dance about it, but what if more people like this lady decided to take a stone home?
“Soon there would be no stones left on the beach, and then where would we be?”
He fined Fisher £75 and ordered her to pay a further £50 in prosecution costs. She also agreed to take the stone back to Aldeburgh as soon as possible.
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