SOUTH Dorset MP Richard Drax says he has twice written to the manager of the Sandbanks chain ferry, in a bid for answers to the current breakdown which angered customers.

Mr Drax says he has twice written to Nick Purchase, manager of the Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company – the firm that operates the Poole Harbour ferry crossing – to ask him for an explanation of the situation, which is now expected to result in the ferry being out of service until October.

Last week furious residents and businesses called for the ferry operators to be stripped of their licence.

At a meeting organised by Studland Parish Council, people voiced their anger and said the company was not fit to operate the service.

Mr Drax said: "I wrote to Mr Purchase on July 18th and again, sent a joint letter with my fellow Dorset MPs this week. So far I have received no reply.

“I completely understand why the people of Studland and beyond are so frustrated.

"Losing the ferry at the busiest time of year for the tourism trade is a serious blow for the entire area and must be remedied as soon as possible.”

“The ferry has already been out of action for an extended period this year ­–twice is too much.”

“Obviously, I have asked for answers from the ferry company. In particular, we need to know exactly how long the ferry will be out of action and what – if any - alternative provisions have been made.”

According to the latest statement on the ferry's website the company says "We do not anticipate being able to resume service until sometime in October."

This statement also apologises for any inconvenience.

The current mechanical issue is the latest in a series of setbacks.

The ferry was out of service for three months in the winter.