Base jumpers criticised for West Bay cliff leap

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Media captionThe coastguard warned rocks and debris could be dislodged by the jumpers

A team of base jumpers that leapt from the top of cliffs on to a crowded beach on the Dorset coast has been criticised by the coastguard.

Coastguard and police received "multiple" calls from East Cliff beach on Sunday afternoon when three people parachuted off the 150ft-high cliffs.

West Bay Coastguard said "falling debris and rocks" were reported.

Police officers attended but confirmed as no criminal offences had been committed they were not investigating.

The three base jumpers had packed away and left the beach before police and coastguards arrived.

An onlooker who was on the beach at the time described the jumpers as "idiotic".

"It's one thing putting their own safety at risk, but those cliffs are really unstable and they are putting other people at risk," she said.

'Safety of beachgoers'

Base jumping involves leaping from a man made structure or natural feature and then deploying a wing suit or parachute to descend to the ground.

West Bay Coastguard said the 150ft (45m) cliffs allowed "only a small margin of error" for deploying a parachute.

"There was a safety concern for the jumpers launching from such a low altitude, the safety of the beachgoers below and the state of the cliffs."

The cliffs, which have featured a backdrop to the ITV drama Broadchurch, have been the subject of numerous warnings following landslides and rock falls in recent years.

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

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