PEOPLE have been reported to police for disturbing otters whilst attempting to capture photographs at a Dorset habitat.

Locals regaled wildlife officers with reports of "over-zealous" photographers disturbing otters at Stour Meadows, Blandford.

Otters are strictly protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations and have additional protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "Last week wildlife crime officers attended Stour Meadows at Blandford. Whilst there we engaged with a number of locals and wildlife photographers who told us concerning reports of otters being potentially disturbed by over-zealous persons trying to capture photographs of them or gain better eyeshot of them.

"Whilst many will know it’s an offence to kill, capture or injure an otter it is important to stress it is also an offence to disturb one.

"In place at Stour Meadows are information boards stating the above. Likewise in some areas you will find fencing prohibiting access to certain areas.

"Going forward we will be looking to continue to work with The UK Wild Otter Trust to protect Dorset’s otters."

If you see a wildlife crime in progress call 999. For a non emergency call 101. Reports can also be made on our website or by emailing