People are being warned to stay away from the base of Norfolk's famous "candy cliffs" after tonnes of rock plunged onto the beach below without warning.

Locals have reported a number of rock falls at Hunstanton in recent weeks. 

Sections of the chalk and carrstone cliffs often break away during the winter months after heavy rain or freezing weather.

READ MORE: Rude word carved on Hunstanton cliffs removed

Signs warn people to stay away from the base of the cliffs.

But the area is popular with beachcombers and fossil hunters, who break open rocks in the hope of finding a specimen.

Eastern Daily Press: Fresh rockfalls have occurred from the cliffs at HunstantonFresh rockfalls have occurred from the cliffs at Hunstanton (Image: Chris Bishop)

One who posted on an enthusiasts' chat said they witnessed a substantial fall at the weekend.

"About 20 cubic metres of chalk just fell off," they said. "Right on a spot where throughout the day several people including children had been breaking up rock and looking for fossils, while others were standing on previously-fallen boulders for a photo op.

"Three people had to run like hell but thankfully no one was hurt. I post this to help remind everyone to stay well away from base of the cliffs." 

A West Norfolk council spokesman said: "The recent cliff falls are consistent with the natural pattern of cliff erosion so no extra warnings or cordons are needed. There are signs at both ends of the cliffs."

They added falls were caused by waves and wind after soft sandstone at the base of the cliffs becomes undercut, causing rocks above to overhang before falling at times of "high energy waves and winds".

Writing in Hunstanton magazine Town and Around local historian Dick Melton said: "The reason these rocks fall is the heavy rain and rain water that comes down the cliffs therefore the best way to tackle this problem is to lay drainage pipes across the green above."