ONE of Britain's biggest festivals is unlikely to return to Dorset this year, it is understood.

The organisers of Bestival, which drew tens of thousands of people to the Lulworth estate in 2017 and 2018, have told police there are no plans to run the event in 2019.

It comes after the festival was forced into administration last year. Dorset Police were owed more than £140,000 – the cost of five full-time PCs – at the time Bestival went under.

The festival's sister event, family-friendly Camp Bestival, will take place at Lulworth again this year.

Both events were hit by financial challenges in September 2018. Billionaire James Benamor made a £1.1m offer to take over Camp Bestival days after his business the Richmond Group filed court papers seeking to put the companies behind the events into administration.

The Richmond Group had loaned the organisers £1.6m in February, and had taken a charge on some of their assets.

Administrators later sold the event’s assets, along with Bestival itself, to the Richmond Group.

The following month, the Bestival brands were acquired by Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts. The Echo has emailed the companies for comment.

However, a spokesperson from Dorset Police said: "The payment of our 2018 policing services invoice, totalling £141,176 to cover our policing of both Camp Bestival and Bestival is still outstanding and we’ve not received any full or part payment towards this.

"We have been informed by the new event owners that there are no plans to run a Bestival 2019 event.

"We are working with colleagues at Purbeck District Council as well as other members of the Safety Advisory Group and any decisions around the policing and security of Camp Bestival 2019 have yet to be made."

London Grammar, who headlined in 2018, were owed £175,000. Singer Plan B was owed £105,000, drum and bass band Rudimental were owed £24,500 for a DJ set and the Human Cannonball is owed £2,000. The festival's huge 'feast collective' was due £8,304.

A report from the administrators Begbies Traynor stated Bestival Ltd owe £3.7m to unsecured creditors.