Sunderland council warning after scavengers spotted taking chainsaws onto Roker Beach
Warnings about swimming and dog fouling are commonplace at the seafront – but a new sign at Roker is asking people not to take chainsaws on the beach.
It may seem like an unlikely thing to take to the beach with you, but some people have been using the power tool to cut up driftwood which has washed up on the shoreline.
Although the driftwood is permitted to be taken home, the use of a chainsaw to cut it on the beach is prohibited due to its danger to the public.
Heavy rain washes the wood downstream where it gets caught between the piers and washed up on shore. The branches, planks and bits of boats are tossed around by the sea, which sculpts it into smooth forms.
Once on the beach, it is often used to make decorative tipis by families or smaller pieces are taken home to make artworks, however, it seems some beachcombers have been attempting to take home some of the larger chunks – with the aid of a chainsaw.
The new signs state: “Chainsaws and the use of chainsaws is strictly prohibited on this beach.”
The signs do not state what sanctions could be faced for breaching the order.
A spokeswoman for Sunderland City Council said a number of incidents had prompted the signs.
She said: “Residents are reminded that the use of chainsaws is prohibited on beaches for health and safety reasons. Signs are displayed at the entrance to Roker beach following incidents of chainsaws being used to cut driftwood.”
Robert Hutchinson from Sue’s Cafe in Roker says it’s more common to see people using saws to cut up the wood, but he has seen the odd person using a petrol chainsaw.
He said: “I hadn’t noticed the signs going up, but whenever the tide’s been right and it’s brought plenty wood in you usually see a few people cutting up the driftwood to take home. It’s normally the same couple of blokes each time, but at least the signs make more people aware of it.”
Earlier this year, South Tyneside Council put out a statement asking people not to cut the coastal pampas grass to decorate their homes after decor trends sparked people taking the grasses, which are an important part of the ecosystem.