A large fire broke out at a packed beach as sun-seekers were enjoying the hot weather. Witnesses reported seeing someone ‘throw a flare’ behind one of the beach huts, which then sparked a large blaze on the grass on Bournemouth beach.

The fire began at around 3.30pm as witnesses reported seeing huge plumes of smoke. One woman told the Daily Echo she saw a flare go off moments before the flames travelled up the cliff, but this has not been confirmed by police.

Police wrote on Facebook: “There is currently a fire in foliage in the area of Pier Approach. Everything is under control, but we ask you please to AVOID THE AREA at the current time to allow Emergency Services to deal with it swiftly and effectively.”