Tempers boiled over at beauty spots across Britain today as locals clashed with vast hordes of tourists they say are blighting their parks and beaches since lockdown restrictions were eased ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
A father who tried to go for a walk in the picturesque Stoney Bank Quarry, Lancashire, was so horrified by piles of rubbish left behind by young revellers who held an illegal party he turned around and went home again.
James Bunting, 41, from Bolton, blasted the ‘couldn’t care less millennial attitude’ of the 100 or so young people who went to the rave and inhaled ‘hippy crack’ in 80F temperatures on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile a police chief in the Peak District warned day-trippers to stay away after the area was blighted by gridlocked traffic and lines of cars clogging the roads on the Staffordshire border with Derbyshire.
And in Torpoint, where Devon and Cornwall police have been stopping campers from staying overnight illegally at their beaches, a local jogger was filmed taking out his frustration on a visiting car by giving it several kicks.
It came as ministers fear the UK could go ‘back to square one’ in the fight against coronavirus if Britons do not adhere to lockdown rules as data suggests people have been flouting restrictions for weeks.
Experts sitting on Number 10’s SAGE panel today revealed the crucial R-value – the average number of people that will contract COVID-19 from an infected person – was still between 0.7 and 1 for the second week in a row across the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pleaded with people to stick to current restrictions which prohibit meeting more than one person from outside your household outdoors.
But there are increasing signs that many have given up on lockdown measures, sparking growing fears of a potential second wave of the deadly disease.
New data published today suggests some people were bending the rules even before Boris Johnson set out his lockdown exit strategy on May 10.
This picture of a large gathering of young people soaking up the sun near Darwen on the hottest day of the year on was taken on Wednesday afternoon, in 80F temperatures
James Bunting visited Stoney Bank Quarry near Darwen, Lancashire, on Thursday morning for a walk but was so horrified by the state of the usually beautiful location that he was compelled to photograph it
A huge queue of cars spotted near the Peak District. Chief Inspector Mark Thorley has reiterated calls for people not to flock to the Staffordshire region this bank holiday weekend
A jogger was filmed on dash-cam footage during his run. He is seen repeatedly kicking a grey Mazda car by Tregantle Beach in Torpoint, Cornwall that was parked on a lane at the roadside
James Bunting (pictured, left, with his family) was horrified to find the rubbish (right) with included canisters used to inhale nitrous oxide
It comes as:
- Nicola Sturgeon announced Scots could be able to have neighbours round for a BBQ and play tennis from next weekend;
- Almost 24million people entered the UK with no coronavirus checks in the first three months of 2020;
- NHS and care workers will finally get free coronavirus antibody tests after Number 10 agreed a deal with pharmaceutical giant Roche;
- Drug-maker AstraZeneca revealed it has capacity to make 1billion doses of the Oxford University’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine;
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested the government could make taking a vaccine compulsory in the future;
- Coronavirus is still infecting 61,000 people every week in England but the outbreak is ‘relatively stable’, according to government surveillance figures;
- Fewer than half of Brits aged 19 to 30 say they are still sticking to the government’s lockdown rules to fight coronavirus, a major study revealed;
- More than five million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide, with Latin America now seeing the largest rise in cases each day
Beauty spots over the past few days have been overrun with visitors as people have gently eased themselves out of lockdown with beaches in Southend, Brighton and Bournemouth packed.
But their presence has caused friction with locals, councils and the police who are fed up with the crowds and the rubbish they leave behind.
In Lancashire, Mr Bunting was stunned with the litter he found after the outdoor party on Wednesday, fuming: ‘There’s obviously been a gap in education about taking something out with you and taking [litter] home. It’s frustrating. There’s a real lack of respect for the environment.
‘It’s abuse. I pick it up with my gloves on as much as I can. Fair enough, come up, enjoy it – but take your litter home. It’s just ridiculous.’
He added that he feared not just for the landscape but that constant activity in the area would driver wildlife from their natural habitat.
‘There were barbecues that had been lit up there that could cause moorland fires,’ he said. ‘The fires around there every summer are devastating. I put my wet-suit on and got all the bottles and cans out of the water too.’
Masses of cars parked near the Peak District. Meanwhile, in the Manifold Valley, a huge amount of litter and charred barbecues were left behind by visitors last weekend
Queues of parked cars near the Peak District, as the beauty spot becomes busier during the hot weather and plagued by piles of rubbish, ahead of the bank holiday weekend. Monday is forecast to see temperatures up to 79F (26C)
Pubs gear up for a takeaway booze bonanza
Althorp pub in Wandsworth today
Thirsty Britons will head to pubs tomorrow to enjoy takeaway drinks on what promises to be a boozy Bank Holiday weekend.
Hundreds of landlords across the country are gearing up to open their bars, most of which have been mothballed during the coronavirus lockdown.
The millions of sunseekers taking advantage of relaxed restrictions in the nation’s parks and beaches have prompted a wave of pubs to reopen up for takeaways.
Publicans will be eager to drum up business after suffering the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout, while at the same time cautious of not wanting to accelerate the spread of infection.
Visor-wearing barmen were pictured in London today maintaining strict social distancing as they carried foamy pints to ‘collection points’ where they were then carried away by customers.
And the beer is set to flow even more tomorrow on the sunny Spring Bank Holiday where temperatures will hit 73F this weekend, before climbing to 78F on Monday.
A shocking video shows an angry jogger kicking cars parked at a busy beach spot in Cornwall.
Pawel Pasich, who lives in Plymouth, was enjoying his first trip out of the city on Wednesday since the lockdown restrictions were eased when he captured the jogger on his dash-cam footage.
Mr Pasich, 39, said: ‘This was the first-time we have been out, aside from shopping, as a family in two months and I was expecting a nice afternoon, but this ruined the whole day.’
He said he’s not sure why the jogger targeted the two vehicles, but he thinks it might have been a local person angry with where they were parked.
In Northumberland the national park authority warned people to act responsibly after an ‘unacceptable’ surge in ‘visitors gathering in groups, leaving litter and having barbecues’.
Yorkshire Water urged day trippers not to swim in its reservoirs despite the hot weather. It said: ‘Reservoir temperatures rarely go above 12 degrees and there is no lifeguard around in case something goes wrong.’
And in Brighton, the number of people allowed on the beach is being restricted after a flood of visitors.
Brighton and Hove City Council said shops selling alcohol are enticing people to the seafront, causing ‘nuisance, urination and littering issues’.
It has now taken the drastic step of restricting the numbers using the beach and has warned visitors that they must stay away.
In Southend, a painter who has been working on the pier for the last two weeks said he was left ‘sickened’ by the sight of hordes of visitors cramming along the seafront.
He said: ‘I strongly believe that there will be a second wave with all these families on the beach and on the esplanade – it’s packed.’
The damage caused by the jogger to Pawel Pasich’s vehicle. Mr Pasich, who lives in Plymouth, was enjoying his first trip out of the city on Wednesday since the lockdown restrictions were eased when he captured the jogger on his dash-cam footage
Holidaymakers who travelled 100 miles to sleep overnight in a giant gazebo on a beach in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset, have been fined. The group of visitors from London flouted lockdown rules by camping on the sand at the exclusive resort
Piles of rubbish pictured at the beauty spot. A top cop says tourists are failing to heed warnings to stay away from the Peak District as the beauty spot becomes busier
Pictured: An overflowing wheelie bin on Worthing seafront is full of rubbish after a busy few days of people on the beach following the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown
June Day, whose house backs onto a beach at Brean Down, Somerset, says lockdown day-trippers are urinating from the path into her garden and she has caught people pooing as well as nearby public toilets are closed
The Met Police has also warned Londoners they will be patrolling the capital city this weekend, reminding the public that group sport, outdoor barbecues and parties are still not permitted.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, the Gold Commander, said: ‘We do not wish to use means of enforcement, but where deemed necessary, officers will take action against those that disregard restrictions and enforcement will be sought as a very last resort.’
Meanwhile, photos show long lines of parked cars, piles of rubbish and burnt-out barbecues in parts of Derbyshire and Staffordshire after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Now Staffordshire Police’s Chief Inspector Mark Thorley has reiterated calls for people not to cause unnecessary distress to the local community by flocking to the region this Bank Holiday weekend.
Londoners who travelled 100 miles to sleep overnight in a giant gazebo on Sandbanks have also been fined, after the group of visitors flouted lockdown rules by camping on the sand at the exclusive resort in Poole, Dorset.
Coronavirus concerns aren’t the only thing that people hoping to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend have to contend with as authorities urge travellers to steer clear of the coast due to dangerous ‘Widow Maker’ waves.
Waves up to 16ft high are being forecast this afternoon and tomorrow as authorities fear that having no lifeguards on duty will be a ‘recipe for disaster.’
The name Widow Maker refers to the Cribbar reef off the Cornish coast and is responsible for huge waves annually near Newquay, attracting huge numbers of surfers.
The worst of the conditions are expected this afternoon and on Saturday along the north coast of Devon and Cornwall.
The RNLI, which would normally be two weeks into its main season, is not currently patrolling any beaches and is rolling out a vastly reduced lifeguard service ‘in phases’ from the end of the month.
‘My concern is around what the wildlife would consume. [They could] even be driven out of their habits if it became a regular event.’
Waves crash against the West Pier in Brighton, East Sussex, today as a man watches from the sea wall on the beach
Bournemouth beach is pictured today amid fears that people will flock there this weekend as the Bank Holiday approaches
People enjoy the hot weather in River Lea in east London, as people flock to parks and beaches
But the charity has confirmed there will be no cover over the busy Bank Holiday weekend despite sun-seekers flocking back to the coast in recent days. The announcement has led to anger from lifeguards who fear the removal of life-saving services will have tragic consequences.
One Somerset resident, June Day, has accused lockdown day-trippers of urinating from the path into her garden, which backs onto a beach, and said she has even caught people pooing as nearby public toilets are closed.
Beaches in the village of Weybourne near Cromer, North Norfolk, have been left decimated with human waste and toilet paper, with the parish council saying fishermen have been staying overnight.
The Met Office is forecasting mild temperatures on Saturday and Sunday, with London at 73F (23C) and the western regions of England both north and south hovering around 68F (20C).
But on Monday London could hit highs of 78F (26C) with Manchester and Birmingham expected to enjoy temperatures of around 75F (24C) and Newcastle 72F (22C).
New data published today suggests some people were bending the rules even before Boris Johnson set out his lockdown exit strategy on May 10.
People are pictured on the beach in Bournemouth today ahead of improving temperatures set to hit Britain on the Bank Holiday
Pictured: A dog walker and her pet brave a massive sandstorm on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside today
Swimmers are pictured enjoying the sea off the Bournemouth coast today as authorities elsewhere fear huge waves today and tomorrow
Pictured: A view of a near empty beach in Greatstone, Kent, as the hot weather cools ahead of the bank holiday weekend following scenes of people flocking to parks and beaches
Google footfall data showed the number of people visiting parks was above pre-lockdown levels in the days leading up to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics today revealed almost one in five adults are meeting up with friends or family from outside their household.
Steve Instance, RNLI lead for Water Safety in the south west, said: ‘This swell forecast is very worrying for north coast of Devon and Cornwall. A normal morning surf will build to over 15 feet in a couple of hours.
‘Combined with incoming spring tide and no lifeguards, this could be a recipe for disaster. Keep out of the water on Friday afternoon please.’
And on ITV’s This Morning today, one caller reported that tourists have been defecating in residential areas due to public toilets being closed.
Host Holly Willoughby was horrified at the revelation, saying to her viewers: ‘Oh my god, don’t! Just don’t do that.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night spoke of a path out of lockdown for some via certificates for people who already have coronavirus antibodies.
At the Downing Street briefing, he stressed that the science of whether people develop immunity, and how long it lasts, was still emerging.
A tree is pictured having fallen in the street in Middlesbrough today as heavy winds sweep the north of England ahead of the Bank Holiday
Pictured: Data from TomTom shows the amount of congestion in the top 10 busiest traffic zones in the UK, with the rises on last week’s congestion shown in red boxes on the right
The Health Secretary told yesterday’s briefing: ‘We’re developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do’
WHY IS ANTIBODY TESTING IMPORTANT?
WHAT IS AN ANTIBODY TEST?
Unlike tests to diagnose diseases, antibody tests show who has been infected and recovered.
The body makes antibodies in response to many illnesses and infections, including other coronaviruses. New blood tests are being developed to identify antibodies unique to SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the new coronavirus.
The tests look for two kinds of antibodies: immunoglobulin M (IgM) and G (IgG). The body quickly produces IgM antibodies for its initial attack against infections. It makes IgG antibodies more slowly and retains them longer; IgG antibodies suggest possible immunity.
HOW CAN ANTIBODY TESTS HELP END LOCKDOWNS?
Antibody tests can help calculate what portion of the population has already been infected, as well as whether infections were mild or severe.
Governments and companies could use antibody tests to determine who would most likely be safe to return to work and public interactions, and whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders all at once in some regions or in stages based on infection risk.
People with negative antibody tests or very low antibody levels would likely have higher risk of infection than people with high antibody levels.
DO ANTIBODIES TO THE NEW CORONAVIRUS CONFER IMMUNITY?
While antibodies to many infectious diseases typically confer some level of immunity, whether that is the case with this unique coronavirus is not yet known.
And how strong immunity might be, or how long it might last in people previously infected, is not clear. With some diseases like measles the immunity can be lifelong. With others, immunity can wane over time.
Scientists cannot know with certainty that reinfection is not possible until further research.
Antibody tests could inform not just lockdown exits, but the best approach to treatments and vaccines.
However, he confirmed that ministers are already looking at a ‘system of certification’ that would signify people who are safe to go back to work and mix freely with others.
The prospect has already raised concerns about the social impact – with the government’s own experts warning that those who are not immune could be shunned and desperate individuals might deliberately try to get infected.
Mr Hancock said: ‘We’re developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do.’
He added: ‘We’re not yet in a position to say that those who test positive in these antibody tests are immune from coronavirus.
‘But as our understanding of the disease improves, the insight these antibody tests provide will be crucial.’
On the Government’s ‘test, track and trace’ programme, Mr Hancock sought to play down the importance of the delayed app. However, experts believe the app is an integral part of the programme and that without it the UK could struggle to get back to normal life.
He had originally said the app would be rolled out by mid-May but it has now been delayed by several weeks.
The Government is aiming for 25,000 human contact tracers to be in place for June 1 – the earliest date for opening schools and non-essential shops in England.
Mr Hancock said trials of the app in the Isle of Wight had shown the human contact tracing elements were also important so people can understand the consequences of what is required if they have been near someone with coronavirus.
Professor John Newton, of Public Health England, said there could be advantages in doing the contact tracing process without the app initially.
Meanwhile, youths in Stoke-on-Trent have been seen flouting social distancing guidelines.
In the Manifold Valley a huge amount of litter and charred barbecues were left behind by visitors last weekend.
And in Butterton, one of the gateways to the Manifold Valley, families were seen using a play area by village hall and having picnics on the benches.
Maggie Risby, clerk of Butterton Parish Council, said: ‘Things went absolutely mad here in the Moorlands last weekend.
‘It was horrendous. We had an influx of visitors at the play area at Butterton Village Hall.
‘The equipment is not sanitised. We have now had to put up notices and padlock the gates.
‘People in the village have tried so hard to abide by the rules, but people coming in and using the equipment could pass on the virus and ruin everything.
‘Two parishioners did a litter pick in the Manifold Valley where lots of litter was left. Cars were parked along the Manifold Valley near Thor’s Cave.
‘Emergency vehicles couldn’t get through in some places because of badly parked cars. Dovedale was also horrendous.’
They issued their warnings as Britain prepares for temperatures of up to 75F (20C) on Bank Holiday Monday after people were pictured across the country taking advantage of this year’s hottest temperatures so far.
Fearful drivers are planning fewer than 10 million separate journeys by car – half the number compared to this time last year. It marks the lowest number since the RAC motoring group started tracking trips.
A group of people bask in the sunshine in London Fields, East London, yesterday as temperatures continued to soar
Visitors descended upon Durdle Door in Dorset yesterday despite the social distancing measures still in place
Two thirds of respondents to a poll of 1,500 motorists, said they planned to stay at home this weekend amid fears of overcrowding at beauty spots. They also cited the closure of the vast majority of attractions and amenities.
It came as official figures showed a 2.1 per cent drop in traffic in the year to March – the largest drop since quarterly records began in 1994.
Yesterday in the coastal town of Woolacombe in Devon, traffic wardens issued more than 70 tickets as all car parks were shut to keep away visitors.
Local councillor Andrea Davis warned people to stay away: ‘Please note the car parks in Woolacombe are NOT open, the loos not open, the cafes not open,’ she said. ‘Please consider all these facts before visiting. Yesterday there was chaos.’
Her warnings were echoed by Duncan Dunbar, a 33-year-old highway worker from Wadebridge, Cornwall, who urged visitors to wait until after all lockdown measures are lifted: ‘We only have one hospital here and it’s small and struggles at the best of times,’ he said. ‘I’m worried about what will happen if there’s an outbreak.’
People frolic in the water as they enjoy the sunshine in a park in east London today as temperatures soar across the country
People enjoy the sunshine in a park in East London today. A major study has found less than half of 19 to 30-year-olds are ‘strictly’ abiding by Britain’s lockdown rules
Steve Double, the Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay, said that day-trippers from outside of Cornwall should not be coming to the county.
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Double said: ‘We are concerned about the next week as people come to places like Cornwall and abuse the new rules by sleeping over. The restrictions are clear that while people free to travel for day trips they are not permitted to sleep in camper vans or in tents overnight. We want to be able to welcome people a bit later in the year but we can only do that if we get on top of this virus. Do not come to Cornwall at this time.’
A major study has also found less than half of 19 to 30-year-olds are ‘strictly’ abiding by Britain’s lockdown rules, while among adults the figure has dropped from 70 per cent to under 60 per cent in the last fortnight.
The MP for Rochford and Southend East and two of Britain’s rail operators warned day-trippers to avoid Southend this Bank Holiday weekend.
Tory MP James Duddridge said: ‘In usual times we would be welcoming visitors with open arms, but we must put the nation’s health first and avoid a second peak.
‘We owe it to our key workers working over the Bank Holiday weekend to keep public transport free so they can maintain social distancing and get around safely.
‘So if you are considering getting on a bus or train to visit Southend, please ask yourself: ‘Is this journey really necessary?”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, said: ‘While it may be tempting to visit some of the great destinations on our network, government advice is to avoid public transport unless it’s absolutely essential, to help us keep our trains and stations safe for those who have to use them, such as key workers.
‘Anyone who does need to make an essential journey should follow government advice and use a face covering.’
Julian Drury, c2c Managing Director, said: ‘Even though we’re running our full timetable, social distancing means that capacity on our trains remains extremely limited.
‘Our staff are working hard to provide a service for people making essential journeys to work, including weekend workers. We cannot be more clear: please do not use c2c for leisure journeys at this time.’
Cornwall council told day-trippers ‘it is not business as usual’ and added: ‘The pubs are not open, there’s nowhere to stay, go away’.
On Wednesday visitors were seen camped out in Brighton and at various beauty spots in Devon and Cornwall, with locals blasting ‘selfish’ revellers for partying into the night and leaving rubbish strewn across roads and open spaces.
Visitors enjoy the sunny weather in Tynemouth yesterday during the hottest day of the year so far. People in England are allowed to exercise and visit beaches as long as they are socially distanced
A group of men sip on beers in Bournemouth yesterday, amid fears large crowds gathering a beauty spots could spark a second wave of infections
Meanwhile, police in Newquay carried out ‘dawn raids’ on campervans to order those inside to go home, as closed car parks led to gridlock on the roads.
Scenes of beaches in Brighton, Bournemouth and Durdle Door in Dorset packed with sunseekers enjoying temperatures of up to 82F sparked a backlash, with one man saying: ‘It’s madness, it’s like everyone’s forgotten about coronavirus.’
Richard Walden, 55, of Woolacombe, Devon, took a picture from his house showing gridlocked traffic snaking back as far as the eye could see.
‘Unbelievably selfish people started arriving at 5am and last night we had vans outside our house until 11pm. They are not just casual visitors.’