Chaotic scenes at beaches as police called to break up fights and large groups after temperatures soar

Officers say drunken and antisocial behaviour at Exmouth beach is 'unacceptable'

Major incident declared after thousands flock to Bournemouth beaches

Chaotic scenes have been reported at beaches in England where police have been called to break up fights and large groups as thousands of people flocked to the coast this week.

Dorset Police declared a “major incident” on Thursday after officers responded to what was described as “pandemonium” on Bournemouth beach, with drunkenness, fights and missing children needing to be located.

“Dorset Police – and our colleagues on the ground – are doing the best they can in these very difficult and extreme circumstances,” Anna Harvey, chair of Dorset Police Federation, said.

“It’s 5pm now and people are still arriving despite the requests to stay away.”

Ms Harvey added: “I am afraid people were asked by the government to show common sense and at times there has not been much evidence of that being on display. We are still in the middle of a pandemic.”

Meanwhile, officers in Exmouth on the Devon coast were called to multiple altercations as temperatures soared, while Merseyside Police introduced measures to crackdown on large groups at Formby beach near Liverpool.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they issued a dispersal order after about 200 young people were found drinking and in some cases fighting on Exmouth beach on Wednesday evening.

“Police officers should not be put at risk simply because people want to drink and let off steam,” Chief Superintendent Matt Lawler said.

“In a number of cases last night officers have been assaulted because of drunken, anti-social behaviour - that is unacceptable.”

He added: “Anti-social and drunken behaviour impacts hugely on a community and the lifting of some Covid measures is not an excuse for violent excess.”

In Merseyside, police introduced a dispersal zone for Formby beach until Friday afternoon which allows officers to force anyone to leave the area for 48 hours if they are suspected of being likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour.

The warnings came as Sally-Ann Hart, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, said she was “horrified” by busy scenes at Camber Sands beach in East Sussex.

Ms Hart said children had been stuck on school buses at points on Wednesday and police had been unable to reach the beach due to high levels of traffic on nearby roads.

“As the weather gets warmer more people are wanting to come to Camber for its sandy beaches, which would normally be a token of pride for local residents and businesses,” she said in a statement.

“However, given recent scenes, this simply cannot go on.”

The MP added: “People visiting our area need to understand that whilst enjoying our coastline they must show decency and respect to local people.”

“That was evidently lacking yesterday.”

Sussex Police decided to close the main road leading to Camber Sands on Thursday due to the “volume of traffic heading to the beach”.

Although lockdown rules have been relaxed in recent weeks, people are still advised to only meet in groups of up to six outside and keep two metres apart from those who are not from their own household.

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