HENGISTBURY Head rangers have been equipped with body cameras as a result of "more than a few incidents" at the nature reserve.

The announcement, which was made on Facebook, details the work the three rangers undertake on a daily basis, such as clearing pathways, litter picking, livestock management and patrolling.

All staff members are now patrolling the reserve due to visitors not adhering to rules regarding cycling, camping and BBQ's.

The post reads: "We are now wearing a body camera to help deter abuse and try to reduce contravention of bye-laws which are here to help to protect this reserve. I didn't think the day would come this soon, when this would be necessary for conservation workers."

Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Councillor Felicity Rice said: "We are pleased to say that our Hengistbury Head Ranger Team have not experienced any significant abuse over the last few months.

"Our team focuses on engaging with members of the public and the body cams are a temporary measure to provide our staff, who often interact on a one-to-one basis with members of the public, with some additional reassurance and the confidence to continue doing so."

Police will be assisting with on-site patrols to ensure the safety of the rangers and visitors.

However, it's not just the rangers who have been impacted by people not adhering to the rules in place.

In order to help affected visitors, new banners have been added around the reserve to emphasise the importance of social distancing whilst outlining restrictions in place.

Additionally, 'No Cycling' signs will be refreshed this week and road based 10mph signs will be added.

Fines will also be distributed for incidents involving BBQ's and camping where necessary.

Councillor Rice added: "We appreciate the vast majority of our visitors are very considerate, but recently we have seen an increase in the number of barbecues used in the area, which is not safe in this area. I would like to remind members of the public not to bring barbecues or start fires at the Head – it risks the survival of threatened wildlife and it is against the bye-laws.

"This nature reserve is extremely valuable in terms of the special wildlife that is present, and it really is so important to look after it."

If anyone sees anything happening on the reserve that concerns them, please call 01202 451629.

For outside working hours, call 01202 451145.