POLICE have urged walkers not to pick up cigarette packets washed ashore on Dorset’s coastlines after the fierce winter storms.

As reported in the Daily Echo, hundreds of packets – as well as bags of Iams cat food – are currently littering the shore at Hengistbury Head.

The packs, which are covered with Japanese writing, are believed to be part of a cargo lost from the Svenborg Maersk container ship during storms in the Bay of Biscay last month.

Packets of tea, feta cheese and olives are also among items washed up along the county’s coastline.

A container door was also discovered washed ashore in Bournemouth by volunteer clean-up teams on Tuesday.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “The majority of the cargo that washed up on Chesil beach last week had been badly damaged and was beyond use.

“It remains the property of the cargo owners.

“Dorset Police’s main priority is the safety of the public. Over the past few weeks, in many of Dorset’s coastal areas landslips have remained a real risk and people should not put themselves at increased danger.”

The Dorset Waste Partnership has already collected 8-10 tonnes of litter from Chesil Beach.

The partnership is working with landowners, volunteers and other agencies to co-ordinate the clean-up effort, the cost of which is being covered by the loss adjustor for the container ship.

Volunteer beach cleaning efforts are taking place at Hengistbury Head on Saturday, March 15 and on Wednesday, April 2. The Great Dorset Beach Clean is on Sunday, April 27.

Anyone finding or taking washed up property should inform the receiver of wreck.

Visit dft.gov.uk/mca for more information.