Weymouth town centre has been officially recognised as offering a safe, enjoyable and entertaining night out.

The area has been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for its evening and night-time economy.

Similar to the Blue Flag award for beaches and the Green Flag award for gardens, the accreditation allows members of the public to quickly identify town centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night.

The Purple Flag also gives Weymouth the rare 'triple crown' alongside the Green and Blue Flags, according to the borough council.

Council leaders say the Purple Flag recognises the work done locally by various individuals and organisations working alongside council officers including the town centre manager Ed Warr, Dorset Police, Melcombe Regis Board, Weymouth BID, Street Pastors, Pubwatch and the WeyPROGRESS community group.

The Purple Flag aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm and 5am.

Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture. They do this while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.

Weymouth scored particularly well on a wide range of eating venues with enough quality independents and bustling shopping streets with bunting. The Town Bridge, harbour area and Nothe Fort /gardens were singled out as being very attractive.

Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to more than 70 towns and cities. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime.

The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM). It works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.

Cllr Jeff Cant, leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “This is not only a tribute to our town manager's energy – and the fantastic work being done by all our colleagues.

"It is another step towards our vision of our twenty first century town as an all year round destination."

Cllr Cant added: "We are driving forward our ambitious regeneration plans. The Purple Flag award confirms and reinforces how much we can achieve if we all work together.”