SWAMPSCOTT, MASS. (WHDH) - Police in Massachusetts are warning the public that dumping used personal protective gear in parking lots is a crime and punishable by a fine of more than $5,000.

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The Swampscott Police Department shared a photo of used gloves strewn on the ground outside of Stop & Shop with a caption that read,” This is a crime! Unlawful disposal of trash and the first offense is finable up to $5,500.”

Police said officers found several masks, gloves, and used disposable wipes all over the parking lot.

“This is making a bad problem worse and possibly spreading COVID-19 to the people having to pick this trash up,” the department wrote on Facebook. “There are trash barrels at every shopping cart-holder. The disposal of gloves, masks, and disposable wipes is the responsibility of the person wearing them, not the store employees.”

Police added that they are aware of people illegally dumping protective gear all over town.

“We need to contain the spread of COVID-19 and do the right lawful thing by throwing these items in the trash,” the department said. “Please stop littering. This is making more work and worry for the people having to pick up this trash.”

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