SAFETY officials say there has been an increase in cars becoming trapped on Brean beach due to visitors ignoring warnings.

Just this week two cars became stranded on the beach during high tide after their owners had left without checking the tide times.

Brean beach warden Kevin Williams said incidents are on the rise, with around seven this year so far.

He told the Weekly News: “This time last year there may have been around two incidents, so it’s becoming more frequent and it gets worse with the warm weather. This has been the worst season for it.

“There are signs everywhere, but people pay no attention to them. Putting up more signs won’t make a difference. It’s so frustrating because we need to be available to deal with much more serious emergencies.

“Most of the time people go on Brean Down and forget about the tide.”

There is also a problem with people speeding along the beach and anti-social driving.

Mr Williams, who is also a member of BARB, which specialises in beach rescues, added: “There are so many incidents some days and we can’t be everywhere at once.

“I think cars should be limited to one section of the two-mile stretch of beach, so at least everyone’s in one place.”

Dave Hughes, Coastguard duty watch manager, said: “Personally I don’t see why cars need to go on the beach. It can be very dangerous if someone is trapped, which is when we’re called out.

“In cases where no one is trapped, the car owner will have to pay a costly fee to have the car recovered.

“I think people don’t realise how fast the tide comes in. It’s the second highest rise and fall in the world so it can turn really fast.”

Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox said visitors to the area often do not understand the way the tides work.

He said: “We already have signs in the area warning people of the tide and of soft sand and mud. But when the tide comes in it starts underground and this softens the sand. People just look at the water and think they’ve got plenty of time before it reaches their car.

“Aside from the obvious dangers, if a car gets stuck the insurance is not always valid because it is off the road. Cars can also be completely written off.

“We can’t put signs up all across the coastline. People should be using common sense.”

Tide times are displayed at Brean beach and cars should be removed two hours before the tide is due to come in.