The beach orientation post displaying the emoji "the smiling turd" had only just been installed on the beach to help young children orientate and find their way back on a busy beach during the summer season. The theft early this week was a student hoax, it turned out. Police managed to track down the culprits after these had given away too many clues on social media. They reported to the police and will help to clean up the beach.
Huge amounts of litter were left on Belgium's beaches during the busy weekend, when many day-trippers went to the coast in an attempt to escape the heat.
For Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein (Flemish liberal) this will do. He says he will not impose a nuisance fine on the students. The emoji itself is also intact. However, the judicial authorities may opt for a punishment later on as an official report has been drawn up.