Villagers living close to where a nine-year-old died in a rock fall by a beach have said the cliffs there are notoriously unstable.

The girl, who has not been named, died when she was hit by falling debris from the 150ft cliffs in the picturesque seaside village of Staithes, in North Yorkshire.

It is understood the youngster was visiting Staithes with her mother when the tragedy happened on Wednesday, just on the other side of the seawall to the harbour, at the eastern of the village.

The scene was around 100m beyond a prominent red sign, screwed to the rock face, which warns of the dangers of the cliffs.

But people who live in Staithes said visitors are often not aware of the constantly crumbling nature of the shale rock, saying youngsters often hack it with hammers looking for fossils.

One woman described how she challenged a family picnicking right under the sign only to be told it was just a “few pieces of shingle” likely to come down.

A woman who has had a house in the village for more than 30 years said local people knew not to go too close to the cliffs as minor collapses were common.

But she added: “How do you tell everyone who comes? It’s just not possible.”