Sunseekers defy orders not to pre-empt lockdown easing and flock to UK beaches in scorching 25C heat

Ewan Somerville
Sunseekers are seemingly defying calls to not pre-empt the lockdown changes: PA

Sunseekers are flocking to beaches despite warnings that the next stage of lockdown easing has not yet begun.

Brits have crammed beauty spots on another scorching weekend with the mercury set to hit highs of 25C on Saturday.

Police chiefs have warned they face another battle to enforce the rules on the final weekend before the rules change to allow people to meet in socially distanced groups of six.

Scientific advisers to the Government have warned it is too soon to lift the stringent rules after Boris Johnson announced a new wave of freedoms on Thursday.

Beaches are busy again this weekend (PA)

But the warnings fell on deaf ears for sun worshippers from Dorset to Essex packed out sands on Saturday while the country sizzles in the ongoing lockdown heatwave.

At the honeypot Durdle Door, near Lulworth cove in Dorset, the beach is today resembling its heaving summer state with a trail of tourists pouring down narrow paths onto the sands.

Similar busy scenes were pictured at Sandbanks in Dorset as revellers pitched tents for a day catching the rays.

The renewed influx to the seaside comes despite three experts on the Government’s top Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) insisting the next easing of lockdown rules, which take effect on Monday, are premature.

Sunseekers flocked to Durdle Door, near Lulworth in Dorset, this morning (PA)

Professor John Edmunds said it was a "political decision" to ease measures, while Sir Jeremy Farrar said the NHS test and trace system should be "fully working".

Prof Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) and a Sage member, became the latest to break ranks this morning and warn Britain remained in a dangerous place.

“We really can't go back to a situation where we've got the numbers of cases and deaths we've had in the past,” he told BBC Radio 4 this morning.

Streams of people are heading to beaches in Dorset today (PA)

Discussing the new test and trace infrastructure, he added: “As we know, it's not yet fully operational so that is where the risk lies.”

Police chiefs have ordered Brits to resist the temptation to cave in to the glorious weather this weekend fresh out of the Dominic Cummings row and warned lockdown floaters will be fined.

Northumbria's Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “The PM must have known he was going to create a situation that is difficult to police. The messaging looks like it was rushed forward to help ministers in a difficult position.”

Bournemouth beach was packed again on Friday (Getty Images)

Anthony Stansfeld, the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “People should obey the rules – things are only just beginning to open up, so please don't pre-empt them.

“All the relaxation of lockdown is being carefully timed by the Government's chief scientists for good reason.

“It's far better if people wait and do things at the proper time, so please don't jump the gun. A bit more freedom is coming on Monday, so I urge everyone to be patient.”

Nearly 17,000 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules have been issued by police in England and Wales, latest figures show.

The provisional data from the National Police Chiefs' Council shows​ a total of 16,947 fixed penalty notices (FPNs), including 15,552 in England and 1,395 in Wales, were recorded by forces up to May 25. But only 841 fines have been dished out since lockdown measures were eased on May 13.

The RNLI called for a ban from beaches earlier this week after three deaths, including a 17-year-old girl, on bank holiday Monday and Tuesday.

The rescue charity, which pulled its lifeguards from 240 beaches during the pandemic, is restoring coverage to 17 sites this weekend.