TENTS were “looted” after bad weather drove families away from Camp Bestival on Sunday night, it has been claimed.

The Daily Echo has been contacted by a number of people who say they have lost items worth hundreds of pounds after the event site closed early.

As reported, organisers said they were “devastated” to shut the arena on Sunday afternoon after a storm ended weeks of sunshine.

Festival-goers were told they could leave their belongings at the Lulworth Castle site until 2pm on Monday. However, when members of the public returned to gather their tents and possessions, some found they had been ransacked.

One man, who asked not to be named, attended with his young family. He left an inflatable tent and other camping equipment worth £800 at the site when bad weather broke out.

“On Sunday morning, we decided to go home for the day and return on Monday morning to pick up our tent,” he said.

“When we returned at 8.30am, we discovered the tent had gone. It is now apparent there was mass looting overnight.”

He alleged that some tents were ransacked while people slept inside and called the problems “outrageous”.

Amy Walker attended with her young child.

She said her £500 bell tent was stolen and possessions within dumped on the ground.

“I’m shocked and saddened,” she said. “It’s my second year at Camp Bestival and unfortunately after this I won’t be coming back next year.”

Others have taken to the festival’s official social media channels to complain.

A mum of three children aged seven, three and one said “scavengers” had “slashed through [the] tent” and taken everything of value, including camping equipment and trainers.

Some of those affected have reported their concerns to Dorset Police.

It had been alleged by some visitors that staff employed to work at Camp Bestival were involved in the incidents. However, this has been "strongly refuted" by organisers.

"The Camp Bestival team works closely with Dorset Police and our security teams to ensure that every precaution is taken to keep our audience safe and that theft is kept to a minimum," a spokesperson said.

"We are awaiting the final crime statistics for Camp Bestival 2018 but early indications are that crime was very low.

"All allegations of theft are taken extremely seriously, and we are investigating all incidences as a matter of urgency.

"We strongly refute any allegations that Camp Bestival staff were involved in any tent thefts. As part of our safety precautions Camp Bestival’s site safety team deployed official Festaff crew members in high-vis to the campsites on Sunday to de-rig tents, ensuring they did not blow away in the high winds.

"We’d like to make it clear they were not removing festivalgoers’ belongings while doing this.”

Rob da Bank, who organises the festival, issued a statement on Sunday to say he was “utterly devastated and heartbroken” to close Camp Bestival early due to safety fears over the poor weather.