YORK, Maine (AP) — Police in York, Maine, are adding patrols at a local beach to protect an historic shipwreck skeleton.

The Portsmouth Herald reports York police received complaints about people vandalizing the fishing vessel skeleton at Short Sands Beach. Officials believe the shipwreck, which was exposed following a storm last week, is more than 160 years old.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Todd Frederick says he received word that people were ripping off pieces of the ship's ribbing. York police placed yellow police tape around the wreck and added patrols to the area.

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission believes the 51-foot-long hull dates to the era between the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Town Manager Steve Burns says the skeleton is town property and should be left alone because it's a historic artifact.

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Information from: Portsmouth Herald, http://www.seacoastonline.com