Report by David Hirst
A clean-up operation is underway in dozens of parks across our region as piles of litter have been left by hundreds who flocked to enjoy the hottest March day in 53 years.
Woodhouse Moor in Leeds has been left covered after hundreds of people were seen gathering yesterday.
In Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, 7 tonnes of waste was removed from the park this morning by workers who were out from 6am.
Later today a further six 200 litre bins are being added to the park in a bid to ensure people clear up their litter. As the weather is set to be even hotter today, South Yorkshire police officers will also be out until 10pm tonight monitoring the situation.
It's after officers were required to attend and respond to numerous reports of anti-social behaviour on Tuesday resulting in at least one arrest.
One of the park’s memorials was also damaged during the evening, which has left volunteers deeply distressed.
This activity is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in our open spaces, which have been a haven for so many people during the pandemic.
There is also concern that people gathering in large groups could have an impact on the easing of lockdown.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people to enjoy the Easter weekend in a “sensible, cautious” manner, enjoying the sunshine but also being careful and sticking to the rules.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain the country remains on course to go ahead with the next stages of lockdown easing in England as set out in the government’s road map.
“What we hope and expect to happen is that we can continue moving forwards through the road map and that this will be an irreversible opening up of society and the economy,” he said.
Dr Danielle McSeveney, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association Yorkshire says if people continue to gather in large groups without socially distancing, it could have a real impact on infection rates.
"If those rates start to rise, then we see the risk of more hospitalisations, an impact on our NHS services and potentially having to put measures back in place.
"I think the last thing anyone wants right now is another lockdown."