POLICE chiefs in Dorset are urging residents and visitors to take caution when out this weekend, stating: "If an area looks too busy, please go home or elsewhere."

Dorset Police has repeated its 'think twice' message to residents and visitors to ensure lives are not being put at risk unnecessarily during the coronavirus pandemic.

The force says relaxation of lockdown legislation, coupled with warm and sunny weather, has seen a huge rise in the number of people travelling into Dorset to spend time at beauty spots, nature reserves and coastline.

As the country continues to fight COVID-19 and keep the R rate down, Dorset Police is asking the public to take responsibility for their actions.

Bournemouth Echo: People on the beach on bank holiday Monday. Picture: PAPeople on the beach on bank holiday Monday. Picture: PA

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Despite the ongoing lockdown measures, we are experiencing a high volume of visitors to Dorset and this is in part due to the beautiful weather we are experiencing.

“However, what is apparent is that in some locations social distancing cannot be adhered to because of the sheer number of people there. The message from Dorset Police and our partner agencies is that if an area looks too busy, please go home or elsewhere.

“The Prime Minister has announced further relaxation of the rules from Monday, June 1, and this will see more people meeting up outside and in private gardens.

"This will be welcome news to many families and friends, but please be mindful that we all need to stay alert and play our part to prevent more people from becoming infected or dying from this terrible virus."

Crackdown on overnight stays

Chief Constable Vaughan said: “I’m also urging everyone to remember that overnight stays in campervans, motorhomes and second homes are not allowed. We are receiving increased reports of these breaches in Dorset and our officers will continue to patrol hotspot areas, engage with the people involved and encourage them to go home."

Be cautious at the seaside

Bournemouth Echo: Sandbanks on bank holiday Monday, May 25. Picture: Stephen BathSandbanks on bank holiday Monday, May 25. Picture: Stephen Bath

“I have been saddened to hear about the tragic deaths that occurred off the coast in Cornwall last weekend and a teenage boy missing off the coast of Dorset," said Chief Constable Vaughan.

"It is important for people to remember that not all the beaches have lifeguards on duty and therefore it is imperative that everyone remains alert when enjoying the sea."

Fire risk at 'extreme' level

Bournemouth Echo:

With fire crews still seeing a number of fires in the open from disposable barbecues, Chief Constable Vaughan said: “This week the fire service has dealt with a number of heathland and woodland fires and we are supporting them in reminding the public that our forests and heathlands are important and we need to do all we can to protect them.

“The risk of further devastating wildfires in heath and woodland across Dorset and has been assessed as extreme due to current conditions and the fire service is asking people to resist having any form of barbecue or outside fire in these areas."

“Finally, I continue to be impressed by the way the vast majority of Dorset residents and visitors are behaving. Thank you for doing the right thing to follow the guidance, respect our communities and protect the people who live here.”