Covid: 'Outrage' as parks left covered in rubbish by groups enjoying warm weather amid locking easing

  • Live report by ITV News Correspondent Stacey Foster

The heatwave across England and Wales is set to continue on Wednesday but authorities have urged caution as social distancing still applies - while members of the public have expressed outrage at the rubbish left behind.

The nation recorded its hottest March day in over 50 years on Tuesday at 25.6C, and the Met Office has predicted there is a chance Wednesday could set an all time high.

The heatwave coinciding with the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on Monday saw people flood to parks and open spaces to meet up with people they had been unable to see for months.

Large gatherings in cities across the country have sparked warnings from the government and police over possible Covid breaches - while local councils have been urging people to clean up their mess.

Hundreds of people flooded to Woodhouse Moor park in Leeds on Tuesday, which left some fearing a potential outbreak of coronavirus, and a huge mess of rubbish left once they had all left.

Rubbish outside the Senedd and on Barry Island in Wales

West Yorkshire Police said: "We continue to be in our communities, engaging and explaining and encouraging people to follow the new restrictions.

"We would like to remind people that we are still in a pandemic and will disperse groups of over six - using fines where appropriate to do so."

One resident, who lives in viewing distance of Woodhouse Moor, said: "It's funny that people are actually surprised.

"If I was there age I'd probably be doing the same thing - but they're taking the mick a bit by not social distancing. "I hope there's no outbreak, but they can't exactly be upset if there is one. It's selfish on their part, but understandable."Large gatherings took place in Nottingham for the second day in a row on Tuesday after the police put in place a dispersal order at a park where over 600 people gathered the day before.Nottingham police labelled the gathering on Monday "unacceptable" and "selfish."

On Tuesday local leaders urged people to be careful and take their rubbish with them - as the local council was left in charge of cleaning up the mess.

Local MP Nadia Whittome called for people to act responsibly.

She said on Twitter: "Please be safe and be considerate of others. Take your litter home."

Several other cities also appealed to people to clean up their mess after local parks were left covered in rubbish on Tuesday.

In Sheffield, the local council sent workers out at 6am to clean up the rubbish left behind at Endcliffe Park in the student heavy Ecclesall Road area, which saw thousands of visitors on Tuesday.

A "couple of thousand" people gathered in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham on Tuesday, according to someone who lives nearby.

Adam Jones: “It has been noticeably busier since restrictions eased but yesterday was really busy.”

“While there were a fair few people in small groups respecting distancing, they were overshadowed by lots of big groups, sometimes up to 20 to 25 people, blaring music.

“We did one lap of the park and by the time we were leaving it looked like a festival.

“How it looked this morning was disgraceful – so much rubbish that a council worker estimated it would take the whole team most of the day to clear.”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people to enjoy the sunshine in a “sensible, cautious” manner by sticking to the rules.

He told ITV: “We just need to exercise caution and be sensible and pragmatic about how we do that.

“I think the vast majority of people are and will do that, they will enjoy the sunshine this week and at the Easter weekend, but they’ll do so in a sensible, cautious way.

“The two things aren’t mutually exclusive – you can go and out, have fun, enjoy the great outdoors and the sunshine, while also trying to be careful, sticking to the rules and trying to avoid the most crowded places.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also tweeted, saying: “Let’s enjoy the sun but let’s do it safely. We have come so far, don’t blow it now.”