COASTGUARDS called in the police when a family refused to leave a west Dorset beach after a new landslide.

At least five people were lucky to escape with their lives after landslips fell on either side of them on Charmouth Beach on Wednesday evening.

A rescue operation was mounted by coastguard rescue teams from Lyme Regis and West Bay, and the coastguard helicopter after Lyme Regis firefighter Virgil Turner called in the incident from his fishing boat.

Despite the death of 22-year-old Charlotte Blackman on Burton Bradstock beach a few weeks ago, a family of four refused to leave the area when asked by coastguards and police had to be called.

The incident came just a week after a fossil hunter in Burton had to be escorted off the beach by emergency services.

Lyme coastguard sector manager Peter Pritchard said: “The disappointing thing is, given the incident at Burton Bradstock, which demonstrates that the threat is very real, the general public just seem to be behaving recklessly.

“They are putting us at risk. It is disappointing, particularly with their attitude to my officers.”

Lyme coastguard station manager Graham Turner said initially they accounted for five people on the beach and also advised a northern family of four to leave – but were met with so much resistance and abuse they called the police.

He said: “The man was adamant he was going to walk past whoever told him not to. He was quite rude. It is not very often we get that sort of reaction.

“This was a man walking with his wife and three kids. We had to call the police and even then he was quite rude to them.

“The police said he was putting his kids in danger and they could remove them because he was placing them in danger. Then he understood the message and went away.

“You get people who are so utterly ignorant it is incredible.”

Bridport Insp Mike Darby said the police could not force people to move but could take children away as they were being endangered.

He added: “The Friday after the Burton incident we found two people sunbathing directly beneath the same spot.

“They get the message but they just don’t care, they think it is not going to happen to them. It is just stupidity.”