A CONSERVATIONIST says the number of cigarette packets being washed up along the Dorset coastline is harmful to wildlife.

As reported in the Echo, a cargo ship lost a number of containers as it crossed the channel in storms earlier this month.

There was estimated to be around 11 million cigarettes in the shipment, which was travelling from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka.

Portlanders awoke on Tuesday morning to find Chesil Beach littered with cigarette packets and more were found washed up in Kimmeridge the following day.

Coastguards were called again on Wednesday after dozens of cigarette packets and two 20-litre drums of old engine oil washed up.

Rescue teams headed to Kimmeridge Beach on Wednesday at midday.

During the search they also investigated two 20-litre plastic drums, which were found to contain old engine oil.

Conservationist Steve Trewhella said: “My concern is from the damage from the cellophane packaging to wildlife.

“It goes back to the shipping industry. Something needs to be done about the waste in the sea.”