THREE naval minehunters have been spotted off the Dorset coast in the past few days.

The vessels, which all belong to the Royal Belgian Navy, could be seen in the distance from the seafront in Bournemouth earlier this week.

Lieutenant-Commander Olivier Vogels, spokesperson for the Royal Belgian Navy, told the Daily Echo: "The three minehunters are currently exercising in coastal navigation.

"These vessels are deployed for the spring campaign in during which students are trained in real time environments.

"Exercises include fire fighting, navigation, drills and breakdowns."

The ships in question, which are are all a Tripartite-class minehunters, were BNS Crocus, BNS Bellis and BNS Lobelia. They were all built in the 1980s.

Marine navigation systems show the vessels had left the area by Wednesday morning and were making their way east along the English Channel.