An English seaside resort declared a major incident Thursday after thousands of people flocked to the beach on the hottest day of the year so far, despite the threat of coronavirus.
Temperatures rose to a record 33.3 degrees Celsius at Heathrow Airport in west London, the Met Office said, a day after highs of 32.6 degrees Celsius saw huge crowds flock to the coast.
But the local authorities in Bournemouth said they were appalled at the scenes on its beaches, as the sunny weather saw an influx of thousands of people.
Their arrival resulted in gridlock on the roads, widespread illegal parking, piles of rubbish as well as anti-social behavior including drunken fights, they said.
Visiting the beach is permitted after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was eased, but people are still being urged to avoid large crowds, and pubs and restaurants do not open until Jul 4.
Council leader Vikki Slade said Bournemouth, on the southern English coast, was not ready to receive so many visitors and urged people to stay away.
The irresponsible behavior and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe, she said.
Declaring a major incident allows the council to deploy additional resources, including police. Other beaches across Britain were also busy, including Southend-on-Sea
In Bournemouth, Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya of Dorset Police said his force was reliant on people taking personal responsibility.
Clearly we are still in a public health crisis and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency services resources, he said.