Britons are warned 'you can have fun, but stick to the rules'

Beauty spots and parks are COVERED with bottles, cans and disposable barbecues after Brits celebrated the hottest day of the year – as police threaten to fine crowds as they brace for ANOTHER day of chaos during record 75F heatwave

  • Revellers are making the most of their newfound freedom after Covid-19 rules were partially lifted on Monday
  • But hundreds enjoyed party in Brighton amid packed parks in Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and London
  • Clean-up effort this morning after people left behind mounds of litter including barbecues and beer cans
  • Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick tells people to enjoy rule of six outdoors in ‘sensible, cautious’ manner
  • London saw temperatures of 76.1F (24.5C) yesterday which made it Britain’s hottest March day in 53 years

Parks and beaches across Britain were covered in litter today as the country enjoys a second consecutive day of record-breaking heat with people set to flock to parks and beaches and temperatures hitting 75F (24C) again.

Revellers have been making the most of their newfound freedom this week after coronavirus restrictions were partially lifted on Monday, allowing up to six people or two households of any size to meet outdoors.

But many threw caution to the wind, with hundreds enjoying a sundown party on the beach in Brighton while seafronts, parks and promenades were packed in Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham and London.

The biggest crowds appeared to be at Woodhouse Moor in Leeds, where hundreds of people gathered – and West Yorkshire Police warned they would ‘disperse groups of over six – using fines where appropriate to do so’. 

Elsewhere a 14-year-old boy died in West Yorkshire after getting into difficulty at a waterfall. He was spotted struggling in a pool at about 6pm yesterday below Goit Stock Waterfall at Cullingworth near Bradford. 

And a clean-up began in parks and beaches today after people left behind mounds of litter including disposable barbecues, beer cans and takeaway boxes on what was the hottest March day in Britain for 53 years yesterday. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people to make the most the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England in a ‘sensible, cautious’ manner, enjoying the sunshine but also being careful and sticking to the rules.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain today: ‘We’ve all waited a long time to meet family and friends outdoors with these very limited freedoms we have now. We just need to exercise caution and be sensible and pragmatic.

‘I think the vast majority of people will do that. They will enjoy the sunshine this week and over the Easter weekend, but they will do that in a sensible and cautious way.’

Mr Jenrick added that people should try ‘to be careful, sticking to the rules’, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted last night: ‘Let’s enjoy the sun but let’s do it safely. We have come so far, don’t blow it now.’

Their comments come after the Prime Minister said he hoped people would take advantage of the ‘beautiful weather’ to play sport or exercise, while also emphasising the country should still ‘proceed with caution’.

Despite cases, hospitalisations and deaths all plunging to six month lows thanks to the vaccine roll-out, Ministers are concerned that infections could surge again if young people are too cavalier.

Warwick University viruses expert Professor Lawrence Young warned people mixing in parks could turbo-charge the spread of the virus, telling MailOnline today: ‘We all expect the rates of infection to increase when these restrictions are removed. That’s why we built gaps into the roadmap. But this (yesterday’s scenes) is a real worry. 

‘What we’ve got is a serious situation where the younger population, who are responsible for the majority of the spread of the virus, are then mixing in parks. They think it’s OK to mix outside and you won’t get infected but if you are near someone who has the virus – is shedding the virus – then you are at risk.

‘The transmission of the virus is clearly reduced when you are in a well-ventilated space and the sun is shining, but if you are in close proximity with someone who is infected you could get infected too.’

It comes after government adviser Professor Mark Woolhouse from the University of Edinburgh warned last month that crowded beaches do not spread Covid-19, saying it was clear most transmission has happened indoors. 

Yesterday, Kew Gardens in South West London saw temperatures of 76.1F (24.5C), while temperatures reached a similar level across southern and eastern areas with highs in many places of at least 73F (23C).

But they are likely to fall to 59F (15C) tomorrow before dropping further to 52F (11C) on Good Friday – before more average conditions for the time of year and even snow in North Wales and northern England by Easter Monday. 

BBC weather presenter Simon King said this morning of the drop in temperatures over the next few days: ‘It’s like the Big Dipper of temperature forecasting. Some of you might even be sledging on Easter Monday.’ 

Nicola Smith and her eight-year-old daughter Leah pick up rubbish left on Tynemouth Longsands beach this morning

Parts of Britain are experiencing very warm conditions for the time of year, with the possibility of 24C (75F) this afternoon

Council workers clear up huge amounts of rubbish left scattered around Primrose Hill in North London this morning

Disgraceful scenes on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside this morning after beachgoers left behind rubbish

A man carries a rubbish bag as he clears up litter left at Potters Fields Park next to Tower Bridge in London this morning

Rubbish left on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneshire this morning after beachgoers enjoyed the heat yesterday

Huge amounts of rubbish is left scattered around Primrose Hill in North London this morning after the record-breaking heat

Rubbish left next to Tower Bridge in London this morning after revellers enjoyed the hot weather in the capital yesterday 

The clean-up at a park in Leeds this morning after hundreds of people gathered at Woodhouse Moor in the city yesterday

Rubbish is left on Tynemouth Longsands beach this morning after beachgoers enjoyed the hot weather yesterday 

A man clears up rubbish at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham this morning after a gathering the day before

Yesterday was the second-warmest March day on record and the warmest in 53 years. With the heatwave due to continue today, the March record of 78.1F (25.6C), set at Mepal in Cambrigeshire, in 1968 could still be broken.

In North Tyneside, the picturesque Longsands Beach in Tynemouth was strewn with rubbish this morning after sunseekers flocked to the coast to enjoy the hot weather as temperatures soared to almost 68F (20C) in the area. 

How this month has brought Britain’s hottest March day in 53 years

  • The top UK temperature for 2021 so far is 76.1F (24.5C) which was set at Kew Gardens in London yesterday 
  • This was the first time temperatures exceeded 73F (23C) in March since 2012
  • This was also the first time temperatures exceeded 75F (24C) in March since 1968
  • The all-time March record was March 29, 1968 with 78.1F (25.6C) in Mepal, Cambridgeshire
  • The warmest day of the year before yesterday was Monday with 68.7F (20.4C) in London and Essex

There were dismal scenes on the sands today – with cans, coffee cups and plastic bags scattered across the shore.

One onlooker said: ‘It’s heartbreaking to see. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in our region. We’re very lucky to have access to such a stunning coastline. It is so upsetting to see so much rubbish.

‘People should have more respect for nature, and stay away, if they can’t clean up after themselves.’

Nicola Smith, 40, had planned to watch the sunrise with her eight-year-old daughter Leah, but instead of relaxing as the sky turned red, the pair began to clear the sands of litter left behind.

The health and social care worker said: ‘It’s absolutely awful. We got up at 5.45am as we wanted to enjoy the sunrise. But when we got here we just could not believe the amount of rubbish.

‘We decided to start picking up the litter instead. There’s so much. People have had barbecues and left behind beer bottles, clothes, shoes, even phone charges. You’ve got to be so careful where you tread. It’s just not safe.

‘My daughter has been collecting rubbish for an hour and a half now. Lots of people are helping us. Locals don’t want to see it like this. I don’t know what the answer is.

‘I was here yesterday afternoon as well and there were large groups of people having barbecues. Probably the only thing that would help would be a complete alcohol ban on the beach.’ 

Yesterday, many in other areas also took advantage of the weather to bask in the sun at popular spots across the country. Some of the most remarkable scenes yesterday took place in Woodhouse Moor, a park close to the main student area in Leeds.

A man cleans up rubbish which has been left at Potters Fields Park next to Tower Bridge in London this morning

A council workers clear up huge amounts of rubbish left scattered around Primrose Hill in North London this morning

Rubbish is loaded onto a van this morning after litter was left at Greenwich Park in South East London this morning

Litter left strewn across Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham this morning after revellers gathered there yesterday 

People walk past the mounds of rubbish left at Potters Fields Park next to Tower Bridge in London this morning

Rubbish piled up in the bins at Greenwich Park in South East London this morning after revellers gathered yesterday

Rubbish left at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham this morning one day after gatherings took place on the grass

Rubbish left at Potters Fields Park with City Hall in the background near Tower Bridge in London this morning

The sun rises on another unseasonably warm day in the Oxfordshire countryside at Dunsden this morning

The sun rises in Dunsden, Oxfordshire, this morning as the hot weather continues for much of England today

Photographs showed hundreds of people gathered in the sunshine, with little sign of social distancing. One frustrated local said yesterday afternoon: ‘There’s hundreds here – literally hundreds.

Beach bar is ordered to stop selling alcohol after punters queue for a pint

A beach bar was ordered to stop selling alcohol after punters queued for 40 minutes for a pint yesterday.

The first beers of the year were served at The Beach Bar on Cleethorpes Promenade in Lincolnshire on Monday, even though pubs remain closed in the third lockdown.

Thirsty customers enjoying the mini-heatwave queued to be served with an alcoholic drink, but North East Lincolnshire licensing officers then served a notice on the premises, ordering it to stop selling alcohol.

People queue for a drink at The Beach Bar on Cleethorpes Promenade in Lincolnshire yesterday before it was shut down

Angry owner Kash Pungi claimed his business was exempt and said he was not given a chance to explain when the regulation was served on him. He told Grimsby Live: ‘It is ridiculous. I will be going to court over this. They are making it harder for businesses in Cleethorpes that are just trying to provide a service. I have always worked with the council but this is making it harder.’

Demand for a pint was so high from people enjoying the heat that the landlord ran out of gas. Mr Pungi opened the roadside venue a year ago and has been shut down for most of that time due to coronavirus restrictions.

Bars and pubs remain shut, but he opened up this week as rules eased on Monday. He was operating a click and collect service where customers pre-order with a text message and insisted he was following regulations after taking advice from a licensing consultant.

A spokesman from North East Lincolnshire Council said: ‘Following reports about a premises in Cleethorpes, we can confirm that Council officers took legal advice and have served a prohibition notice. This notice requires the premises to cease trading immediately, in line with current Government Covid legislation.’ 

The Government banned takeaway and click-and-collect alcohol sales from hospitality outlets in England at the start of the third lockdown in January, but this is expected to be allowed again from April 12. 

‘People have barbecues going on. It’s really frustrating, to be honest. I get it, it’s 20C (68F) and people want to enjoy the weather, but we’re literally a few weeks away from lockdown ending. Can they not just wait?’

After large crowds blatantly broke the rules on Monday night at Nottingham’s Arboretum, brawling and leaving huge amounts of litter, police in the city said alcohol would be seized from anyone entering parks.

An order was imposed giving officers the power to break up gatherings. Furious city council leader David Mellen criticised people for ‘acting so thoughtlessly and recklessly’.

Mr Mellen said: ‘We have all made sacrifices over the last year to keep each other safe. Over 600 local people have died due to the virus.

‘We owe it to their families, to each other and to frontline workers not to jeopardise the strides we have made towards reducing the spread of Covid by acting so thoughtlessly and recklessly.

‘The road map is a cautious way out of this terrible situation and we all need to abide strictly to its rules.’

Meanwhile, there was concern in the West Country about visitors arriving from further afield in breach of ‘stay local’ guidance – and calls for rule-breakers to be reported to police.

Sally Everton, director of Visit Devon, said: ‘Coming up on the A30 [on Monday] all I saw was cars with surfboards on the roof. Either they’re going to get their surfboards waxed or serviced, or they’re looking for some waves.

‘I’m quite disappointed because people will flout the law. What we need is an enforcement notice from the Government to say that while people can move around, they should stay local and to still minimise travel.

‘If you know there’s somebody in their second home or there’s an Airbnb that has been occupied, we’d encourage them to report it to the police.’

Malcolm Bell, of Visit Cornwall, said: ‘When you look at the location of Cornwall, we wouldn’t be expecting anyone to travel more than an hour or so on a day trip. So it’s very difficult to see why someone could justify a trip.

‘We’d love to see people later in the year – and in the not too distant future – but for now please explore within an hour or so of where you live at a maximum.’

Met Office forecasters said temperatures today ‘could get close’ to the all-time figure, with 77F (25C) possible in isolated areas of the South East this afternoon. 

Elsewhere, temperatures of up to 72F (22C) are likely to be widespread.

However, Polar air is set arrive over the Easter weekend, with snow possible over the hills of north Wales and northern England by Easter Monday.

Met Office meteorologist Nicola Maxey said: ‘We are currently experiencing very warm conditions for the time of year. Today, we’re expecting 21C to 22C quite widely and the possibility of an isolated 24C.

‘We may even sneak 25C in places. The warmest areas are likely to be in the South East.’

But she added: ‘We will see a marked contrast from tomorrow. We could see a 10C temperature change in some areas. Carlisle is likely to be 17C (63F) today then 8C (46F) on Thursday.

Revellers gather on the beach in Brighton last night as people flock to the Sussex coast to enjoy the warm weather

Young revellers gather at Cannon Hill Park near Edgbaston Cricket Club in Birmingham yesterday evening

Londoners make the most of the hot weather at Primrose Hill in North West London yesterday as lockdown restrictions ease

Primrose Hill in North London is seen from the air yesterday afternoon as groups gathered in huge numbers

People sit outside in the warm weather near Tower Bridge in London yesterday as temperatures hit the 70Fs in the capital

Groups of people sit outside in the sunny weather at Greenwich Park in South East London yesterday

People perch precariously close to the edge of Birling Gap in East Sussex yesterday as they head to the coastline

Hundreds of people flocked to Woodhouse Moor in Leeds yesterday as they made the most of the warm weather conditions

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today as he urged people to make the most the latest easing of restrictions in England in a ‘sensible, cautious’ manner, enjoying the sunshine but also being careful

‘The South East is due to hang onto the warm air so there could be some areas still recording 18C (64F) on Thursday.’

Butterflies enjoy their third ‘good year’ in a row

Butterflies enjoyed their third ‘good year’ in a row last year, experts say.

It is thought that warm weather and the fact more people were out enjoying local nature during the pandemic could be the reasons for more sightings of species such as the Large Blue. 

Last year ranked as the tenth best for sightings since 1976 – according to an annual monitoring scheme run by charity Butterfly Conservation.

However researchers warned population levels of many species continue to be down compared with 40 years ago.

Miss Maxey said the wind direction is forecast to change from south-south westerly to Polar Maritime, bringing much cooler conditions and overnight frosts over the coming days.

Good Friday and Easter Saturday are likely to be mostly dry with sunny spells.

But temperatures should be closer to average for the time of year, in the low to mid-teens Celsius (50s Fahrenheit) in central and southern areas and high single figures Celsius (40s Fahrenheit) in northern England and Wales.

Through Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, winds are set to strengthen, with gusty conditions in northern and western England and Wales, gales in Scotland, and bands of rain.

Miss Maxey said: ‘We could see some of that rain falling as sleet and snow on high ground in North Wales, Cumbria, Northern England and Scotland above 400 metres (1,312ft).

‘In Cumbria on Easter Monday, it’s due to be 5C (41F) but is likely to feel like -2C (28F) due to wind chill.’

Parts of the central Pennines are not due to rise above freezing on Easter Monday, while even Birmingham is set to shiver at just 7C (45F).

Further south, temperatures of 9-10C (48-50F) are likely on Easter Monday. Yesterday saw Wales record its hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury hitting 21.3C (70F) in Cardiff.

Northern Ireland also experienced its warmest day of the year with temperatures reaching 18C (64.4F) at Giant’s Causeway, while Scotland saw the mercury rise to 18.5C (65.3F) in Lossiemouth, Moray.

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