Despite warnings of potential rockfalls and mudslides, video footage shows a large group of fossil hunters risking their lives to make their next discovery.

Jurassic Coast guide Martin Curtis filmed this footage at Charmouth - where cliffs have been reported as unstable - this week.

Repeated warnings have been issued about the area, with threats of dangerous mud slides and rockfalls.

Mr Curtis said: "The quest for fossils continue. [I've] just witnessed at least 10 pro-fossil collectors risk their lives in the race to be the first to the best sites and fossils. Storms bring fossils and idiots on to the beach - only time before someone is lost to the sea. No fossil is worth that."

Mr Curtis explained the cliffs are unstable in several places and there have been a couple of reasonable falls over the past couple of weeks.

"There has been some material falling and I would always advise keeping well away from the base of the cliffs," he said. "Always enter the beach on a falling tide and when the foreshore is wide and safe. If you are tempted to head out on to the beach after a big storm consider the state of the sea and the risks involved.

"During the swell of a storm, rogue waves often travel twice the distance up the beach compared to most, those are the ones that will catch you out. Please fossil hunt responsibly. The beaches can be dangerous during and after big storms.

"Think about the risks involved - no fossil is worth losing a life over. If you ever get into difficulty on the coast, dial 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard."

The Jurassic Coast Trust says the coast is a 'wonderful place to visit,' but it’s important to use common sense and caution – and always pay attention to warning signs and messages about how to stay safe.

It has the following safety advice for those visiting the coast:

  • Do not take unnecessary risks and stay away from the edge of the cliff top.
  • Stay away from the base of cliffs: rock falls can happen at any time.
  • Do not climb or walk over landslide or rock fall debris, especially after wet weather.
  • Always pay attention to warning signs; they are there to advise you on how to stay safe.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Beware of steep, shelving beaches and large waves.
  • Be aware of tide times. The sea comes in and out twice a day and it is possible to get cut off by the incoming tide or forced up against the cliffs. See BBC Tide Times for the latest information.
  • If you are looking for fossils, do not hammer into the cliffs or solid rock as this will cause long lasting damage and can be dangerous.

Fossil hunting

  • The best, and safest, place to look for fossils is on the beach where the sea has washed away soft clay and mud.
  • Do not hammer into the cliffs, fossil features or rocky ledges.
  • Keep collecting to a minimum. Avoid removing in situ fossils, rocks or minerals.
  • The collection of specimens should be restricted to those places where there is a plentiful supply.
  • Only collect what you need – leave something for others.
  • Never collect from walls or buildings. Take care not to undermine fences, bridges or other structures.
  • Be considerate and don’t leave a site in an unsightly or dangerous condition.
  • Some landowners do not wish people to collect – please observe notices.