VOLUNTEERS collected hundreds of bags of rubbish from the county’s storm-hit beaches for the Great Dorset Beach Clean.

The event is now in its 26th year and saw volunteers brave the cold and wet weather to help make Dorset’s beaches cleaner.

Armed with gloves, sacks and litter pickers, volunteers along the Jurassic Coast tackled rubbish thrown up by the recent storms including metal pipes, plastics, wood and debris.

The event supported the ‘Litter Free Coast and Sea campaign’ and was organised by Dorset County Council’s coastal ranger team.

Local cafes, pubs and restaurants offered discounted meals to volunteers who headed to 25 of Dorset’s beaches to lend a hand.

At Newton’s Cove in Weymouth volunteers from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture Science (CEFAS) collected rubbish that had been thrown onto the small beach popular with swimmers.

Owen Morgan is a water quality scientist and this is the 11th beach clean he has organised in the area. The teams do surveys for the Marine Conservation Society about the types of rubbish they find.

He said: “The main thing is raising awareness of litter pollution.”

CEFAS worker Carlos Campos and his daughter Sara said they had found lots of plastic and bottles.

At Ferrybridge, families and individuals gathered at the Chesil Beach Centre.

Michelle and Neil Price came down to help out from Littlemoor with their sons Toby, seven, and Ethan, four.

Mrs Price said they had done other beach cleans in the past. She said: “It’s a really good cause.”

The family had found plastic bottles, plastic wrapping and even bags full of dog mess that people had just left on the beach.

Angela Thomas from Dorset Wildlife Trust was helping to coordinate the collection at the centre.

She said: “It was a really good turnout for what was going to be a little bit of a miserable day. We thought it would pour with rain so it’s great so many people were out on the beach.”

At Chesil Cove, Dorset Coastal ranger Tom Bennett and 10 volunteers had collected 12 huge bags of rubbish within an hour from a 200 meter stretch of beach.

He thanked volunteers and added: “It really makes a difference. The more you can pick up the less is taken back out and dropped elsewhere.”

The Howell family from Chickerell collected four bags of rubbish including rusted wire in just 90 minutes. The family said they wanted to help after the recent storms.

Dad Chris said: “It’s awful to see all the rubbish on the beach. It’s quite shocking.”

Mum Leah said they liked to come down to the beach and wanted to do their bit to help.

She added: “If we all look after it, it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”