'Stay away from Bournemouth' says mayor, as many flock to beaches

Bournemouth's mayor has pleaded with the public to 'stay away', after the council declared a major incident when services were "completely overstretched" as huge numbers of visitors crowded onto the beaches during the day.

It follows the news that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the government will take action if social distancing measures are ignored as thousands flocked to the south coast on the hottest day of the year.

Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty later urged people to follow social distancing rules in the hot weather or risk causing a spike in coronavirus.

He wrote on Twitter: "Covid-19 has gone down due to the efforts of everyone but is still in general circulation. If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again. Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all."

Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further. PA image.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said extra police patrols had to be brought in following the "irresponsible" behaviour of crowds who gridlocked roads, dumped rubbish, abused refuse collectors and parked illegally.