BCP COUNCIL and Dorset Police have reiterated their ‘think twice’ campaign after campervans were set up on a car park in Poole.

Four campervans were seen parked on the Whitecliff Recreation car park, owned by BCP Council, on Thursday, May 21.

This comes as the council have said they are to step up patrols of council-owned sites across the conurbation over, what is expected to be a busy Bank Holiday weekend, with potentially thousands of visitors driving down to the south coast.

Dorset Police have said that they have issued 875 fixed penalty notices between Friday, March 27, and Thursday, May 21, to people who have allegedly breached the Covid-19 restrictions.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment consisting of four campervans at Whitecliff Car Park.

“A needs assessment was undertaken on Thursday, May 21.

“Rubbish bags are being provided and collected regularly and we are monitoring and visiting the site on a regular basis.”

The desirable weather over the Bank Holiday weekend is expected to attract holidaymakers to Dorset. Yet, with campsites and hotels closed, many are expected to stay overnight in car parks.

Visitors have already been spotted in a number of other car parks including Lake Pier in Poole, Mudeford Quay and Kings Park, and tourists from London were moved on and fined after they were seen camping on Sandbanks beach.

Those caught sleeping in their vehicles on council owned land will face fixed penalty notices of up to £70.

Dorset Police have echoed BCP Council leader Vicki Slade’s plea earlier this week for locals and visitors to ‘think twice’ about their trips to the coast.

They say they have received an increase in reports of people staying overnight at locations across Dorset and that “enforcement is a very last resort”.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “We are very fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country and with the stunning weather we have been experiencing it is not a surprise that people want to come and visit.

"We’re asking people to think twice about what they’re doing – is it safe and is it fair – and do the right thing. Each of us need to take responsibility for controlling the spread of coronavirus.

“While people can visit their second homes, staying overnight in a camper van, holiday home or a second home is not allowed.”

Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, added: “Our message is very clear. Think twice before travelling into Dorset, and if you live in our county use your common sense before going to beaches or beauty spots that could easily become very crowded.

“No matter how nice the weather will be over the bank holiday weekend, it isn’t worth the risk of becoming infected or passing on the virus to others.”

A clarification

IN an article yesterday regarding BCP Council taking action against those who spend the night sleeping in vehicles in car parks we ran a photograph of some camper vans.

We have been asked to point out that the owner of one of the vans pictured says he had not stayed there overnight and was merely parked there while he walked his dog.

We are happy to clarify that.