A group of concerned residents gave up their weekend to help with crowd control at a beauty spot swarming with tourists.

Chaotic scenes were reported at Durdle Door over the bank holiday weekend, with a packed beach, lack of social distancing, inconsiderate parking and rubbish strewn across the picturesque estate.

A team of 12-14 residents pulled together and voluntarily gave their time to help staff at the Lulworth Estate manage ‘excessive’ crowds at Durdle Door, many of whom who had a ‘ridiculous’ attitude towards social distancing.

Pictures show a long line of people close together as they try to climb down the steep steps to the beach below, while there were reports of waits of up to 45 minutes to get to the car parks.

One witness said there was ‘chaos’ on the roads and claimed vehicles were parked on the verges.

Dorset Police received reports of an ‘excessive’ number of people in the area, making social distancing difficult, but officers did not attend as they ‘have no powers to enforce social distancing measures following the amendments to the Government restrictions.’

They can enforce on mass gatherings.

After tirelessly trying to help, residents were then left with rubbish once everyone left.

Dorset Councillor and Lulworth resident Laura Miller organised the group in a bid to alleviate pressure on estate staff.

The volunteers, who worked 9-5 over the three days, marshalled people who were walking which freed up staff for the car parks. They wore PPE to do so.

“The estate has been brilliant but has not got as many people as they can due to people self-isolating and things,” said Cllr Miller. “So we helped and it was a great community effort.

“The residents have been fantastic. It was a collective community spirit, it was really good to see.”

However, she added: “So many people left barbecues and rubbish. It was hard to see and residents were upset at our lovely estate being trashed.”

Asked if there was any anger toward the estate, Cllr Miller said: “There will always be anger toward any authority. But we have overwhelmingly pulled together. There was more anger towards tourists coming here in large numbers.

“It was absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “You had visitors saying they were surprised that there were so many other visitors.

“People don’t do their research before coming and when the get here they realise it’s very busy and it’s tough terrain."

Resident Stuart Venables did not take part in marshalling but said it was ‘very commendable’ of his neighbours, one of whom told him they were shouted at and abused.

He said the scenes at the estate were ‘absolutely awful’ with visitors parking inconsiderately and leaving rubbish behind.

At one point, a man climbed the iconic arch cheered on by onlookers.

“I don’t think opening the overflow car park is the answer,” said Mr Venables.

“It just allows more people into a space. With the sheer numbers going down that track, it could have been a disaster. Emergency services wouldn’t have been able to get down there.

“We have always had belligerent holidaymakers with no respect for the village itself or the beaches, so the villagers has had to take things into their own hands.”

'We don't have the power to stop anyone travelling if they choose to do so'

The Lulworth Estate said in a statement: “Our staff have been working extremely hard during the restrictions to keep people away, who continued to arrive in Lulworth despite not being permitted to do so.

"By the middle of last week, this was proving to be unmanageable with hordes of people continuing to arrive and parking anywhere and everywhere. In consultation with the village and the Dorset Council we, like the council, decided that the safest course was to open all our car parks and those facilities we could, bearing in mind the social distancing requirements, to try and manage the whole situation as best as we were able.

“We have no means of limiting numbers as we and nobody else has the power to stop anyone travelling if they choose to do so. We have no jurisdiction over the beaches (although we collect the litter from them) as everyone now enjoys a legal right of access and the police no longer have the power to prevent people travelling.

“We can only remind people of their responsibilities, marshal where we can and hope that they adhere to the rules, but unfortunately, as we have witnessed, many do not.”