Beach theft

In 2008, a whole beach in northwestern Jamaica was reported stolen: five hundred truckloads of sand went missing and were never recovered.

Photo by A.V B.S on Unsplash

The white sand beaches of Jamaica are a huge draw for tourists from around the world. That also makes them a big money-spinner for local industry. In 2008, a company named Felicitas Jamaica Limited planned a huge resort development next to a beach in northwestern Jamaica. They ran into just one problem: someone stole the beach.

I should clarify this. No-one swindled the company out of the title or lease of the beach. Instead, someone took the sand. Around 2,500 cubic metres (more than 6,000 cubic yards) of pristine white sand was loaded into trucks and driven away to parts unknown. The company had to delay construction on their beach resort, because they no longer had the beach.

So, who took this beach? Felicitas Jamaica Limited filed a lawsuit against some other resorts, claiming that they were behind the white sand theft. The case noted that these other resorts had a suspicious amount of white sand on their own (normally brown sand) beaches. As far as I can tell by trawling through Jamaican newspapers, that case has not reached a resolution one way or the other.

This is not the only incident of beach theft. In 2007 an artificial beach in Hungary was also taken, and illegal sand mining is an ongoing problem in the southern Indian state Tamil Nadu. This all reminds me of that classic line from The Simpsons:

Marge: That’s crazy. Bart’s not a shoplifter: he’s just a little boy.
Brodka: Oh, sure, now he’s just a little boy stealing little toys. But some day, he’ll be a grown man stealing stadiums and… and quarries.

Marge Be Not Proud

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