IT was a clean sweep at the Great Dorset Beach Clean, as results showed 851 bags of rubbish were filled from just 25 beaches across Dorset.

It represents an increase of 23 per cent from the 2013 Spring Beach clean, and 65 per cent more than in 2012.

In Weymouth, 175 bags came from the seven mile stretch between Chesil Cove and Bowleaze Cove alone, amounting to more than a fifth of the total collected from Dorset beaches.

Nearly 700 people participated in the event organised by Dorset County Council’s coastal ranger team and families, individuals, community groups and local businesses worked together to clear beaches ready for the summer.

Jenny Penney, coordinator of the Great Dorset Beach Clean, said the increase in rubbish could be down to recent weather.

“There has been an increase in storms from further out to sea, along with higher tides.

“We found a lot of rubbish pushed further up the beaches, and a lot of rubbish caught high up in bushes which could have been blown out to sea by bad weather.

“We are also still seeing the remains of spillages from the Bay of Biscay which has had an impact on the amount of rubbish collected,” she said.

She added: “I’m overwhelmed with this year’s response by volunteers. It’s tremendous that so many people gave their time to help to clean up the beaches along the coastline.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming despite some appalling weather and for their fantastic efforts on the day.”

Some more unusual items found on Dorset beaches included a bicycle, a burnt-out mattress and even a bath tub.

Peter Finney, Dorset County Council cabinet member for environment and the economy, said: “After the horrendous storms that hit our beaches over the winter the beach clean efforts of local people were even more appreciated than usual.

“Every bag removed from a beach will help restore our globally-important coastline to its full glory for wildlife, and people, to enjoy this summer.”

The Autumn Beach Clean will be held on September 21.

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