Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Ban for rogue Jurassic Coastline fossil hunters

Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast stretches along 100 miles of Devon and Dorset

Rogue fossil hunters have been banned from Dorset's Jurassic Coastline after two court injunctions were secured.

The National Trust and Charmouth council won the first order banning a Somerset man extracting fossils out of cliffs over fears of falling rocks.

A second injunction was also made by Taunton County Court banning "unknown persons" from digging in the area.

The trust said fossils could still be collected from the beach but the orders would help stop coastline damage.

The National Trust said: "The man has been involved in extracting large numbers of fossils by digging expressly against the wishes of the landowners and the guidance of the West Dorset fossil collecting code of conduct.

Falling rock risk

"His actions have also placed the public, including walkers and families, at risk from falling rocks."

Anyone who breaks the injunction, which was granted last month, could face arrest.

Helen Mann, the National Trust property manager in Dorset, said: "These injunctions are not about stopping people picking up the fossils on the beaches.

"We know thousands of families enjoy collecting fossils as a memento of their visit to the Jurassic Coastline and this is a valuable educational activity for many families and schools.

"This is about preventing inappropriate and unlawful fossil collection which damages the coastline.

"Wholesale digging into the cliffs, prospecting along fossil-rich layers, is dangerous and unacceptable."

The Jurassic coastline, England's only Natural World Heritage Site, runs for 95 miles from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland in Dorset, one third of which is protected by the National Trust.

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