Dorset

'Broadchurch' beach: West Bay cliff fall blocks coast path

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Media captionMore than 1,500 tonnes of rock came down on East Beach

There has been a major cliff fall at the coast made famous by ITV's Broadchurch series.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 tonnes of rock collapsed at Dorset's West Bay overnight.

It forced the closure of the cliff-top path between Freshwater and East Beach.

Police do not believe anyone is trapped under the rocks but officers are making inquiries to establish whether anyone was in the area at the time.

It is the second collapse in less than a week at the iconic cliffs.

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Image copyright Dorset County Council / Bridport Harbour

Simon Miles of Lyme Bay RIB charter, who photographed the aftermath from his boat, said: "These cliffs are prone to crumbling and falling but this is of significant size.

"Thankfully, due to the time of the fall the beach is likely to have empty."

Image copyright Dorset County Council / Bridport Harbour

Dorset Police warned people to stay away from the cliffs amid fears of another collapse.

Ch Insp Steve White said: "We would like to remind people that the cliffs remain unstable and it is possible further rock falls could occur.

"We urge the public to obey warning signs, not to stand near the edge of cliff faces or stand directly underneath them.

"Landslides and rock falls can happen at any time and without warning."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption The ITV drama Broadchurch is set in a fictional town in Dorset

Dorset County Council coast manager Phil Sterling said: "Following police advice, we have closed the coast path between West Bay and Freshwater.

"The path link has been severed and we will negotiate with the landowner and others to agree a diversion as soon as we are able to."

The coastguard also warned the area was "very unsafe" and said signs were being put up to warn people to stay away.

In 2012, tourist Charlotte Blackman died at nearby Hive Beach when she was buried under a rockfall.

Image copyright Simon Miles / Lyme Bay RIB Charter
Image caption Between 1,500 and 2,000 tonnes of rock collapsed

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