Seaside village bans swimming after amorous dolphin terrorises locals by rubbing up against them

The dolphin, nicknamed Zafar, has been butting up alongside boats and chasing swimmers. Credit: PA

A seaside village in Brittany has banned swimming on its beach because a dolphin has been scaring tourists and locals by trying to rub up against them.

The dolphin, nicknamed Zafar, has been entertaining children near the Breton city of Brest and swimming with bathers and kayakers.

But as it enters mating season, the animal has moved further down the coast to Landévennec, a small town famous for its abbey - where it has been butting up alongside boats and chasing swimmers.

Mayor Roger Lars said the ban, which took affect August 20, was put in place to protect bathers after several unsavoury incidents.

"I issued the decree to ensure safety... Several bathers were really afraid -- he even lifted up a woman bather with his snout," he told local media.

The 3m (10ft) dolphin had initially delighted locals, swimming with water sports enthusiasts in Brest harbour, but it had since moved south to his village of 300 people.

The mayor's decision to ban swimming has been welcomed by experts at marine wildlife centre Océanopolis, who warned that bathers should "never get too close to a marine mammal at full sexual maturity".