MORE than 25,000 people have visited tips in the Dorset Council area in just eight days.

The staggering figure was revealed following the reopening of the household recycling centres.

Tips were closed for several weeks during the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown but were reopened on Monday May 11 due to huge demand.

Councils across the country had reported an increase in fly tipping as people tried to get rid of their rubbish.

Dorset Council has 10 tips, nine of which are currently open, including those at Swanage, Shaftesbury, Wimborne, Blandford and Wareham.

Numbers over the eight days from May 11 varied from 2,615 on the first day to 3,594 on May 15.

Sites have been subject to temporary closures due to high numbers of visitors and some people have queued for up to an hour.

Now council chiefs are preparing for even high numbers over the weekend.

Matthew Boulter, Head of Commercial Waste and Strategy at Dorset Council Waste Services, said: "We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of people visiting our household recycling centres (HRCs) since we re-opened them on Monday last week.

"Queue times have varied between a few minutes up to an hour’s wait, and we’ve also had to close sites for short periods when the queues become too long. This will most likely remain the case as we continue to enforce social distancing measures, effectively halving the amount of people we could usually have on site at any given time."

He said the situation will be monitored closely "as we anticipate that the recent relaxing of travel restrictions and current nice weather will result in more people visiting HRCs over the bank holiday weekend.

"On site “meet and greet” staff – many of which are volunteers or are employees that have been redeployed from other services – will remain in place for the foreseeable future and are doing a fantastic job at helping manage traffic and keeping people informed.

"In the meantime, we are still asking people to only visit an HRC if you cannot continue to safely store your waste at home. If you have to drop waste off, please check our website before setting off and make sure your items are separated properly before arriving.

"If you find yourself queuing to access a site, please switch off your engine when you can and take a bottle of water if the weather remains hot. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

BCP Council was only able to provide figures for the Nuffield tip in Poole, which had 2,802 visitors over seven days from May 11.