VISITORS are being urged to stay away from Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door after several people were seriously injured jumping from the top of the arch.

As reported, at least four people were encouraged to jump by baying crowds on the beach below yesterday, with thousands of people evacuated from the beach as the situation was declared a critical incident by emergency services.

Police say they were forced to group crowds together to allow rescue helicopters to land, making social distancing impossible.

The roads to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door remain closed following the incident, while the road to West Bexington has also been closed today.

Dorset Council is now urging the public to respect local communities and to stay safe as the numbers of people heading to Dorset beauty spots increases.

Dorset Council’s Corporate Director and duty Gold Command Officer Jonathan Mair said:

“It is vital that everyone continues to act responsibly. This weekend, with continued good weather, the number of visitors to the county has increased significantly. This is putting pressure on local beauty spots and beaches and we are seeing people not able to social distance properly.

“Unfortunately a number of people are parking inconsiderately and sometimes dangerously. We have taken measures to close a number of roads in the county today for safety reasons.

“If an area is busy, please head home and don’t add to the crowds. Our priority is to protect residents and visitors health and wellbeing and for them to stay safe.

Dorset Police is reminding residents and visitors that the Government’s health advice has not changed, and that people need to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of the virus.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “The images circulated from Durdle Door yesterday show that too many people made the decision to go the beach rather than going elsewhere.

“The critical incident that occurred in this area demonstrates how important it is to act responsibly and not overcrowd our beaches.

“If an emergency situation arises, we need to be able to clear an area to allow for the treatment of seriously injured people. As there were too many people on the beach, we had no option but to put people together in to allocated areas to allow helicopters to land.

“Yet again, we would remind the public that if an area looks too busy, please go home or elsewhere.

“We enforce the law and not Government guidance or advice so we are unable to enforce social distancing, the wearing of masks or avoiding public transport.

“I am encouraging you all to do the right thing to avoid spreading the virus and reduce the impact on local communities.”

Despite warnings, thousands of people have already arrived at the Durdle Door beauty spot this morning.

Landowner Lulworth Estates confirmed its car parks are open, with the main parking area already full.

James Weld, on behalf of Lulworth Estates, described the situation as "chaos".

"We have decided that the car parks should be opened today as the public will still travel to the coast and if we do not provide parking they will park anywhere they can, returning to the chaos that ensued immediately following the relaxation of restrictions on May 13.

"This is proving to be the case with our staff reporting that the main car parks are already full."