A YOUNG girl suffered a "nasty" injury when she impaled her foot on a seven-inch skewer while paddling in the sea at Studland.

The 10-year-old stepped on the metal stick, believed to be a kebab skewer left behind from a barbecue, on Saturday.

It was embedded four centimetres into the girl's foot.

Her father asked for help from the Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team, who were patrolling Middle Beach at the time of the incident. The team helped dress the wound before escorting the family to a minor injuries unit at Swanage Hospital where the girl was given further treatment.

A spokesperson for the team said: "We're not sure, but the object could be a kebab skewer from a barbecue or perhaps something thrown from a boat. Either way, this piece of litter caused a nasty injury and spoiled a family's day at the beach."

The team thanked staff at Middle Beach Café for their help finding somewhere to treat the girl and for looking after both her and the team by "keeping them refreshed and hydrated".

The incident has prompted an appeal from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency about litter on beaches.

"Please don't leave your rubbish or litter at the beach. Whatever you come with, take it away with you or use the bins at the beach," the agency said.

A spokesperson for the National Trust, which owns and manages the beach, said the "tide of litter is on the increase".

"Not only can litter be a health hazard to people, many marine animals die every year from entanglement or ingestion of items discarded on our beaches or at sea. We collect about 70 tonnes of litter from the beach every year at Studland, and it is a priority for our beach ranger team to check the beach on a daily basis. We would urge visitors to the beach to take home all their litter and dispose of it responsibly."

The Dorset-based Litter Free Coast & Sea project said it was "mindful that litter on beaches is of concern at this time of the year".

Coordinator Gwen Hawkins said: "We would encourage everyone to take their litter home with them, especially when bins are full. Disposable barbecues must be taken home as they are a fire hazard if left with other rubbish, and if you are holding a social gathering on the beach please ensure the area is left totally clear of litter. Broken glass, cans and sharp objects are not always an obvious hazard to other beach users, particularly young children and animals.

"We would sincerely appreciate the public’s help in keeping our fantastic beaches litter-free so that everyone can enjoy using them."