WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — If you're thinking about sipping an ice-cold beer on the sand at Wrightsville Beach, can it.
Officials are cracking down on public alcohol consumption after cleaning up truckloads of litter following the Fourth of July holiday.
Town Manager Bob Simpson said workers hauled off 21 truckloads of trash -- six times the norm. Beer cans composed most of the litter, he said, though there were tables and chairs and even a discarded keg.
"It was probably the worst on record," he said.
The board of aldermen authorized more patrols by police and random sweeps of problem areas. Warnings will be issued in some cases, Simpson said, but violators could face a $100 fine.
He said it was already illegal to drink on town property, including the beach, but drinking and litter had not been a major problem until the recent holiday. Enforcement is sometimes tricky because possession is not illegal, just consumption, so someone can carry a six-pack from a store or have a cool one in a cooler.
"We're not about to become a cooler police or inspect what you have in a cup," he said.
But officers won't look the other way if they see sipping by the seashore.