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Visitors to Dorset beaches must act ‘responsibly’

Bournemouth Beach on 25 June Image copyright Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Image caption Officials said they had “no choice” but to declare a major incident last week

A police chief has asked residents and visitors to Dorset to act “responsibly” as the county prepares for a surge in visitors this weekend.

It comes as lockdown restrictions ease and the hospitality industry reopens on Saturday.

Last week BCP Council declared a major incident after its services were stretched by thousands of people heading to Bournemouth’s beaches.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said bad behaviour would not be tolerated.

During one day last week an estimated 500,000 people visited the Bournemouth and Poole area.

Mr Vaughan described the scenes as “extraordinary and of significant concern”.

BCP Council said its services had been stretched by excessive waste and traffic and there had been a number of incidents involving fights and excessive alcohol.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Services have been stretched to “the absolute hilt” , the council warned last week

Mr Vaughan said: “Everyone, whether you are a visitor or a resident, has a duty to act responsibly and not to become involved in drink related anti-social behaviour or leave your rubbish to litter our beautiful region.

“Just because we are coming out of lockdown it is not an excuse to drink irresponsibly, fight or act in a way likely to bring harm to yourself and others.”

The force said it was expecting “to see a considerable increase” in demand for the police this weekend and it would be increasing patrols, particularly in Weymouth and Bournemouth.

BCP Council said it had been doing “a huge level of extra planning” and that the reopening of hotels, restaurants and bars would relieve pressures on beaches.

Leader of the council, Vikki Slade, said: “We are proud of our reputation as one of Britain’s leading tourist destinations and we very much welcome the return of responsible visitors to our town.

“We ask only that visitors respect, protect and enjoy the area during their stay.”

Image caption Vikki Slade said the reopening of the hospitality sector would relieve pressure on beaches

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