WAYS of tackling the myth that Dorset is perfect for ‘wild camping’ will have to be tackled ahead of the coming summer season.

Chesil Bank councillor Mark Roberts says residents are getting fed up of the car park at West Bexington being full of motor homes and the beach being dotted with tents – with the resulting mess, including excrement, left behind.

Cllr Roberts told a scrutiny committee meeting that at times in the past couple of years there had been a hundred tents on the beach.

He said the situation had improved slightly with the introduction of anti-social behaviour measures and increased patrols but called for further action.

“There are social media site advising that is one of the best places on the south coast to come to for wild camping,” he said, suggesting that tougher measures, including prosecutions, might help the situation in the future.

“It is a great nuisance for residents as there are no facilities and the mess left behind is not welcomed by anybody,” he said, claiming that many who arrived had travelled from the West Midlands.

Community safety officer Graham Duggan said that patrols, including those by council officers with the police, had helped, but measures needed to be found to discourage people from coming in the first place.

“It is very much in the public eye and something we want to work on with local communities. There are known issues at West Bexington and we will listen to the concerns and practical ideas to crack down on the problem,” he said.

Sherborne councillor Jon Andrews, who fishes from the beach, said he had often arrived early in the morning or late in the day to be met by rangers and the police, which he welcomed, but suggested if it was so difficult to control could ways be found to charge for it – only to be told that the site was largely controlled by the National Trust and the charging for camping was unlikely to be welcomed.

The meeting heard from Mr Duggan, that it may be possible to enlist the help of councils in the areas where people typically travel from to dissuade their residents from making the journey to wild camp, or to use social media channels in those areas to get the message out that wild camping on Dorset beaches was not tolerated.