A HUGE clean up operation has been under way since thousands of visitors descended on Dorset's beaches to enjoy the weekend's heatwave - as weather experts revealed Saturday was the hottest day ever recorded in Weymouth.

Teams of volunteers have been out in force clearing up litter and mess left behind at the county's beauty spots. They have described the scenes as 'soul destroying'.

As well as tidying up litter strewn over beaches, volunteers have also been busy removing graffiti scrawled on cliffs at Durdle Door, which has been packed with visitors from across the country during recent spells of hot weather.

Among those to daub graffiti was a London-based social media influencer, who scribbled her Instagram account handle on the white cliffs during a visit last week.

She has since apologised for her actions and has donated money to fundraising pages set up to support the volunteer litter pickers.

Erin Tyrrell, who regularly helps clean Durdle Door beach, said that the graffiti was not an isolated incident, with more and more similar incidents happening along the Jurassic Coast.

She added: "I don't get it, I just think it's ugly on a white wall with black writing and normally it's for self promotion, which I find really disrespectful.

"There is a lot more than that, all under Swyre Head. They have been there for a while."

She added that the Instagram influencer had now set up a monthly instalment of £30 to her fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jcbeachcleaners.

"It's really heartwarming to see when someone has done wrong makes up for their actions," said Erin. "She apologised and I felt that she really wanted to help and meant it."

Thousands of visitors from across the country travelled down to the coast over the weekend to bask in sizzling temperatures. In Weymouth, temperature reached 32.8C on Saturday - the hottest day on record for the area according to meteorologists.

Volunteers then sprung in to action to clean up the mess left behind, scrubbing the cliffs and collecting countless bags of rubbish discarded by beach goers.

Beach cleaner, Anna Taylor, who helped to clear the graffiti from the cliffs at Durdle Door, said: "People think it will come off in the rain but it doesn't, it's just very silly. I personally can't understand why that would come into someone's head in the first place."

The beach was covered in human faces and litter over the weekend, with Anna describing the litter picking as "soul destroying."

She said: "I just don't understand why you would do that to such a beautiful place. It's soul destroying, this is where we live.

"It's a hazard, especially during a pandemic. I can still smell the caves, one absolutely stinks and it's difficult to remove that.

"It's completely disrespectful, they are treating it like a dump and it smells like a sewer."

Extra staff and security have been drafted in to manage the crowds of people visiting Durdle Door each weekend - and clean up the mess they leave behind, bosses have said.

James Weld, owner of the Lulworth Estate which runs Durdle Door, described scenes over the weekend as 'horrendous'.

He added: "We have a support team that are litter picking day and night and there are some fantastic volunteers as well. They don't just clean up after people, they offer advice and hand out rubbish bags to people on the beach. We try and educate people but we can't speak to every person.

"It's constant. On Sunday morning we took about 50 bags and there was about 40 from Friday. It's horrendous.

"It is a natural environment and managing it is a complete nightmare. It's extraordinary how some people are behaving."

Mr Weld has had to employ extra security staff through the night and more people to clear the beach every morning, putting a greater financial strain on the estate.

Derek Billings, Education Ranger & Volunteer Coordinator at The Lulworth Estate, said: "The volunteer group was organised by ourselves, as an emergency response team for these unprecedented problems. This was a coordinated effort between the Estate and the willing volunteers who have signed up to help look after this precious coastline."