A huge chunk of a cliff has collapsed at West Bay, causing a 1,000-tonne rockfall. 

Emergency services were called to East Beach early on Tuesday evening.

West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team and Dorset Police were first at the scene and quickly searched the area - almost the  same spot as a major rockfall in 2018 and likely to be the remainder of that fall. 

Nobody was found, but officers could not be certain people were not trapped under the cliff or needed rescuing.

To be sure, the fire and ambulance services were requested and firefighters from stations in Bridport, Charmouth and Dorchester attended, along with technical rescue teams from Weymouth.

Searches proved inconclusive, and so thermal imaging, the police helicopter and a search dog were called for.

The emergency services  stood down at about 8pm.

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team said it was 'much better to be safe than sorry' given people been hurt or killed by such falls in recent years.

Police are making enquiries to establish if anyone was in the area at the time of the fall and anyone with information or concerns can contact themon 101, quoting crime number 12:271.

Chief Inspector Lance Cliff, of Dorset Police, said: “At this stage it is not believed anyone is trapped following the fall.

“We would like to remind people that the cliffs remain unstable and it is possible further rock falls could occur. We urge the public to obey warning signs, not to stand near the edge of cliff faces or stand directly underneath them. Landslides and rock falls can happen at any time and without warning."

Coastguards officers closed off a section of the coast path overnight and engineers checked the site  yesterday morning. 

The area, between West Bay and Freshwater, has since reopened but a cordon is in place around the area which collapsed.