Intimidating and anti-social behaviour has forced a town council to bring in security guards to patrol the seafront and gardens.

Lyme Regis Town Council has taken the radical action in a bid to prevent groups of people gathering late at night causing a nuisance to nearby residents.

It comes as Dorset Police has also stepped up patrols to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area and utilised section 35 dispersal powers.

The town council has been working closely and sharing information with Dorset Police as the number of reports has increased in recent weeks.

The security guards will start patrolling on Friday night, focusing on the beach, seafront and gardens, but also keeping an eye on other known trouble areas in the town. They will be wearing body cameras and relevant footage will be passed to police.

Town clerk John Wright said: “The level of anti-social behaviour has now reached such a point that the council decided it needed to take action and employ a security company to support the increased police efforts.

“Not only is the behaviour having a detrimental impact on the lives of residents who live nearby, but it’s also intimidating for people who are passing by and feel they need to avoid an area where a group is gathered.

“As we are now approaching the school summer holidays and the weather is improving, lots of families will be staying on the beach later into the evening and the last thing we want is for people to feel they have to leave because if the behaviour of a minority.

“Hopefully the presence of security guards will not only discourage anti-social behaviour, but also reassure the public that the town remains a safe and welcoming place for both residents and visitors.”

Dorset Police are carrying out proactive patrols in both Lyme and Sherborne and section 35 dispersal powers are being utilised.

These powers mean police can order people to leave the area if their presence is likely to contribute towards anti-social Behaviour and they are liable to be arrested if they return within a designated period.

Inspector Darren Stanton said: “Much of the anti-social behaviour reported involves individuals, mainly but not always young people, getting together and listening to music. While this may seem harmless behaviour on the face of it, when the music is at a loud volume and being played into the early hours of the morning it can cause considerable distress to people living nearby.

“We have even had reports of people having to go and stay somewhere else just to get a good night’s sleep and this is clearly unacceptable.

“We are asking people in these areas to think about their behaviour and be considerate of the impact it has on others.

“There are also the clear public health implications of people getting together in larger groups, the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away and the Government guidance is clear in relation to large gatherings.

“As we enter the summer holidays and young people spend more time outdoors and away from home, we want parents to ensure they know where their children are and that they are acting in a safe and responsible manner.”