BCP Council have warned tourists about parking fines after people have been spotted staying in the council owned car parks overnight.

Visitors seen staying overnight in car parks across Dorset could face fixed penalty fines of up to £70 for higher level violations and £50 for lower level violations, which will be halved if paid with two weeks.

Council officers and police are increasing patrol of BCP Council owned land and car parks as fears that, with hotels and campsites closed, the number of illegal campers could increase further leading into the Bank Holiday weekend.

Cllr Lewis Allison, cabinet member for Tourism, Leisure and Communities said: “This weekend is set to be a busy one due to the good weather so we would reiterate to stay local if possible and be aware that visiting popular areas will make it harder for you to comply with social distancing measures, which are in place for your family’s safety.

“It is getting worse every day and I know it is happening in other car parks such as Mudeford Quay

“National guidance is still advising that people should return to their primary residence; staying at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.

“Campsites and hotels are closed to tourists and camping in public car parks is not allowed and will be enforced.”

With hundreds of families visiting the Bournemouth area to make the most of the hottest day of the year on Wednesday, citizens are worried that the lack of patrolling of council car parks could lead to not only more tourists coming down, but more people staying in the area.

Dorset citizens have spotted commuters staying at sites across the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area.

A resident from Hamworthy has seen campers at Lake Pier in Poole on his daily cycle ride through some of the lesser known car parks in the area.

He said: “As soon as the car parks were opened the quoter ones have suddenly become makeshift campsites for vans that are kitted out for overnight trips.

“I think that the council need to patrol this area after nightfall and very early in the morning to catch these people.

“It is getting worse every day and I know it is happening in other car parks such as Mudeford Quay.”

Bournemouth Echo:

As of Wednesday May 13, the council returned to full enforcement of all parking restrictions. Warning notices will be given to vehicles parked in areas where a restriction had previously been suspended during the lockdown.

Starting from Monday May 25, full enforcement begins for all restrictions that had been suspended.

A council spokesperson: “With parking restrictions back in force, we carry out regular patrols and monitoring of BCP Council owned land and car parks. Fixed penalties will be issued in line with our usual procedures.”

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, the council have stepped up their targeted messaging to those outside of the area to ‘Think Twice’ about visiting the south coast.