Beach-goers cite Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches as reason for packed resort

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The beachThe Monday sunshine saw people flocking to the Dorset resort of Bournemouthes were packed - Getty
The beachThe Monday sunshine saw people flocking to the Dorset resort of Bournemouthes were packed - Getty
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter .
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter .

In the glorious sunshine of Britain's most popular beaches, lockdown no longer seemed to exist. 

As temperatures hit 25 degrees on Bank Holiday Monday, Britons packed picnics and travelled to beauty spots in their droves in order to enjoy the weather with their families.

The crowds have been criticisised for putting the health of the country at risk – but many said that if Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's most senior adviser, could break the rules, they can too.

Christchurch and Poole Council warned that the seaside resort of Bournemouth was approaching "maximum capacity" as people travelled to its beach from as far away as Liverpool.

Some said that they felt the lockdown restrictions could be ignored because of the actions of Mr Cummings.

Bournemouth approached 'maximum capacity' as the Bank Holiday sun shone - Getty Images Europe 
Bournemouth approached 'maximum capacity' as the Bank Holiday sun shone - Getty Images Europe

Patricia Smith, a fitness instructor, said: "The situation with Dominic Cummings encouraged me to come here from Liverpool. I was thinking about whether it was right to or not – but if he can do that in his position, then why shouldn't I?"

Many sunning themselves on the sands seemed to agree. Stuart Beer, an insurance broker from Poole, said there was no incentive for the general public to follow Government advice if officials did not "practice what they preach".

He said: "Cummings helped set the rules, so he has got to abide by them. If he hasn't, he should go. If the Government are not practicing what they preach, why should the rest of us? How can they complain about people who break the lockdown?"

Aidan James, who treated daugher April and partner Leanne Chambers to an ice cream at the beach, said: "We have stuck the lockdown rules and been socially distancing.

"I'm not surprised with Dominic Cummings, I think they're all a bunch of hypocrites, but I think it's still important to be sensible so it won't change how we behave. But I think a lot of people will take advantage of the fact that he has broken the rules."

Residents near Botany Bay and Margate Main Sands in Kent complained of a "strong smell of urine" as toilet facilities were closed but crowds descended on the beaches.

The loosened rules announced by Boris Johnson earlier this month state that people in England can travel around the country to exercise and sit in the sun.

A view of Bournemouth's busy beach -  Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images
A view of Bournemouth's busy beach - Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Emergency services have warned British people to not take risks if they visit beaches and other beauty spots, to avoid straining the police and the NHS. 

Community safety officers patrolled the beach in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, to try and enforce social distancing measures. 

The RNLI has suspended lifeguard duties during the coronavirus crisis, but independent life-saving teams carried out multiple rescues on the coast of Devon and Cornwall over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Gary Walters, of the Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club in Cornwall, helped a family who got into trouble with their young son.

He said: "There was a male and a female with their son who was only four or five years old on a little board. I could see the expressions on their face that they were seriously in trouble and worried about the little one.

"It was just a question of keep pushing, driving and swimming until they got to the shore and eventually we got them all in thank goodness. But it was frightening."

He also went to the aid of a surfer who was in a group who also got into difficulty, adding: "The waves are really really big and choppy."

Two kayakers got into trouble and spent 20 minutes fighting a rip tide to get to shore.

Tom Mansell, the regional lifesaving lead for the RNLI, said: "Our advice is that if you are not an expert in the water and do not surf regularly... our strong advice is do not enter the water."

Tourists were also warned after being photographed posing on an unstable 150ft cliff. A number of walkers were spotted at the top of the crumbling sandstone cliff at West Bay, Dorset.

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