When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Fossil hunters warned after Dorset coastguard shut beaches
WARNING SIGNS: Fossil hunters are ignoring the dangers and are still clambering over unsafe cliffs along the west Dorset coast.
FOSSIL hunters climbing on recent landslides are dicing with death, coastguards have warned.
Some beaches along the west Dorset coast remain closed to the public after a series of landslides, one of which claimed the life of a holidaymaker.
Charlotte Blackman, 22, of Heanor in Derbyshire, died on July 24 when the cliff collapsed on her at Freshwater beach, Burton Bradstock.
Despite this tragedy, reckless members of the public are putting their own lives, and those of emergency services, in danger by climbing on the landslides and walking close to the cliffs.
Mark Collins, station officer at West Bay Coastguard, said: “The beaches are shut for a reason, the cliffs are very unstable.
“There’s a lot more to come down pretty soon. Hundreds of tonnes could come down any time now.
“People who go to new landslides to find fossils could become a fossil themselves.
“We only ask people to move away to stop another tragedy.”
He added: “Some people say they’ve been going on the beaches for years but the cliffs are so unstable at the moment that even the experts are having trouble predicting when the next landslide will happen.
“If you do have to walk on the beach go as far away from the cliffs as possible.
“Our other concern is people walking very close to the edge at the top. A good three metres came away at the last landslide.”
Mr Collins said extra patrols of coastguards have been placed on dangerous beaches.
He said: “At Freshwater, coastguards are keeping an eye on it and are advising us when we need to move people on.
“It puts us at risk too because then we have to walk under the cliffs.
“We don’t know when they are going to be stable again, they are never going to be safe to stand under.”
The warnings have came after another incident on Sunday morning when the coastguard was called out after a fossil hunter was seen clambering over the landslip at Burton Bradstock.
Two other people who were also approaching the area were warned to stay away.
LATEST LANDSLIPS AND CLIFF FALLS
August 10 – Coastguards called in the police when a family refused to leave a west Dorset beach after a new landslide.
At least five people were lucky to escape with their lives after landslips fell on either side of them on Charmouth Beach.
August 8 – A fossil hunter sparked an emergency operation after straying near the landslide at Burton Bradstock.
He was escorted away from the closed area of the beach at Freshwater after being spotted digging near the landslide.
August 4 – Youngsters scrambled up cliffs hit by landslides after becoming cut off by the tide in west Dorset. Coastguards were called out twice in the space of two hours to rescue the people from rocks between Charmouth and Lyme Regis.
August 1 – Officials blasted beachgoers who ignored warnings about dangerous cliffs in the wake of the Burton Bradstock tragedy.
They said that people were dicing with death by heading on to shores along the west Dorset coast with cliffs behind.
June 25 – Beach goers were warned to keep away from landslides and unstable cliffs between West Bay and Eype.
The council closed the western end of the Esplanade at West Bay.