RESIDENTS and councillors in Christchurch have voiced their annoyance at boat users speeding near the Stanpit Marsh Nature Reserve, saying it is putting other water users in harm’s way and affecting the local wildlife.

Police received reports of vessels seen speeding through Christchurch Harbour close to the shore on October 10.

A spokesman from Dorset Police said: “We received a report that at around 5pm on Sunday October 10 after a vessel was seen reportedly travelling in excess of the permitted speed limit in Christchurch Harbour. Local officers have been made aware.

“We would always encourage users of any watercraft to act responsibly, be considerate of other water users and the local environment and to respect speed limits that are in place at all times.

“Dorset Police works with partners to patrol areas of concern and engage with those using our waters to raise awareness of the restrictions in place and the need to behave responsibly and we will take action where appropriate.”

The marine division of the force have been conducting patrols of the area during the summer as part of the Operation Seagoing initiative targeting anti-social and irresponsible behaviour.

Bournemouth Echo: Email from Pat Scott Received 5.3.08. Birds, beach huts and the distant Isle of Wight, Stanpit Marsh..

However, residents say the situation is “getting out of hand” and have called for stronger deterrents to be put in place.

A Christchurch resident said: “I was out on a walk with my wife on the weekend over by Stanpit Marsh and we saw two ribs speeding up and down the river. The ribs were hurtling around at high speeds with no regard for any other water users.

“The disrespect shown by some people on the water is shocking. It is not only harmful to the wildlife but puts themselves and other people at risk.

“There are lots of paddle boarders and dingy sailors who go out on the Stour which is great to see but the small number of people who race along the river spoil it for everyone else.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Christchurch councillors have campaigned for more police presence on land and on the water to help protect the nature reserve.

Mudeford, Stanpit and West Highcliffe ward councillor Lesley Dedman said: “We have reported to BCP officers and the patrol each incident whether seen by us or reported by worried residents.

“Unfortunately, the very speed that the vessels produce makes it difficult to be on the spot and catch them in time with a limited officer presence.

“Stanpit Marsh is especially vulnerable to wash from speeding vessels, and we here are always concerned for its protection.

“Christchurch Independents as a group have been lobbying the administration of BCP for more presence in our own area, which residents complain is being neglected not only on the sea but on the shore as well.”