AUTHORITIES pleaded with the public not to come to Dorset yesterday as sweltering temperatures drew visitors to some parts of the county in their droves.

Lulworth, Durdle Door and beaches to the east of the county saw chaotic scenes as they quickly became packed with people and nearby car parks and roads were rammed with traffic. Police asked people not to venture to the Dorset coast as all parking spaces near these beaches were full.

They also turned away visitors at Studland as the Ferry Road and National Trust car parks were full.

A major incident was declared in Bournemouth after thousands of people defied advice to stay away and descended on Dorset's beaches on the hottest day of the year so far.

A multi-agency emergency response has now been activated to co-ordinate resources across the area to tackle the issue.

Dorset Police Federation described the scene at Bournemouth as 'pandemonium' as officers dealt with drunkenness, fights and having to locate missing children.

Federation chairman Anna Harvey travelled to check on officers’ welfare and provide them with supplies and water.

She says officers were forced to work extended shifts in the searing heat as thousands continued to ignore the warnings to stay away - and flocked to the sandy beaches.

Anna said: “People have been locked down for months and now with the weather and the lockdown being unlocked have been flocking to our fantastic beaches.

“Dorset Police – and our colleagues on the ground – are doing the best they can in these very difficult and extreme circumstances. It’s 5pm now and people are still arriving despite the requests to stay away.

“Am afraid people were asked by the Government to show common sense and at times there has not been much evidence of that being on display. We are still in the middle of a pandemic.

“Our colleagues are doing a fantastic job in very trying and hot conditions – remaining courteous, professional and robust when needs. And let’s please spare a thought for them in their full kit in this heat.”

The scene was different at Weymouth. Although busy, beachgoers seemingly followed social distancing guidance.

Weymouth mayor Cllr Graham Winter said the town was fortunate to have such a long stretch of beach.

"Generally, people have been quite sensible here," he said. "People seem to be respectful of each other."

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council member for West Purbeck and portfolio holder for adult social care and health, said: “We want people to enjoy our coastline and beautiful tourist spots around the county, but there is also an expectation that visitors will behave appropriately and be considerate of public health guidance as this health crisis continues.

"Our message to everyone – both inside and outside Dorset – is to play your part. If the weather is nice, assume all tourist spots will be busy. Avoid visiting locations where you cannot socially distance. Park sensibly, remembering not to block access to emergency service vehicles. If you do visit a beauty spot, take your rubbish home with you or place it in a litter bin. Do not use disposable BBQs in public places, especially where there is a risk of wildfire. And remember to keep washing your hands as often as is practical.

"We are reliant on people taking personal responsibility and strongly advise members of the public to think twice before heading to busy areas. If everyone respects and protects the place they visit, we can all responsibly enjoy everything Dorset has to offer. I’d like to thank everyone for their consideration at this time.”