TOW-AWAY zones are set to be introduced at tourist hotspots to avoid the chaotic scenes of last summer when thousands descended on the area and parked illegally.

Tow-away zones will be introduced at Studland and Lulworth on May 22 and will remain in place until November 1.

On hot days last summer, Dorset car parks were filling up early in the day and, despite there being nowhere legal to park, visitors continued to arrive and abandon their cars, blocking routes for emergency services and buses.

The new tow-away zones will give the council powers to remove cars rather than just issue fines, which is all they could do last year.

At Studland, Dorset Council will propose a tow-away zone of more than 2.2 miles of Ferry Road, stretching from 50 metres south of the Knoll House Hotel driveway and ending 125 metres south of the ferry toll booths at Shell Bay.

The clearway will run in conjunction with the permanent controlled parking zone order which prohibits waiting on the carriageway and verges in this area between the hours of midnight and 6.30am.

At Lulworth, the vehicle tow-away zone, which is subject to approval, will be between Daggers Gate and Church Road/West Road at west Lulworth.

Councillor Noc Lacey-Clarke, Dorset Council cabinet lead for environment, travel and harbours, said: "Last summer, Studland - one of Dorset’s most popular locations - became overcrowded and we experienced problems with illegally parked cars blocking access and bringing roads to a standstill. Studland also experienced litter problems, illegal overnight camping and fires as a result of disposable barbecues and camp fires.

"Not only was this incredibly frustrating for residents and visitors who had chosen to park responsibly, it posed a very real danger by restricting access for emergency service vehicles.

"By putting this clearway and tow-away zone in place we can influence individuals’ behaviour to park responsibly and behave with respect for others and for the area they are visiting."

The cost of releasing a vehicle that has been towed is £105, plus £20 per day vehicle storage.