'Major incident' Declared as Thousands Visit Beaches in Southern England

A major incident has been announced in Bournemouth on the south coast of England after thousands traveled to the beaches because of hot temperatures.

The number of people on the beach was "like those seen on a bank holiday," council leaders said.

The U.K. is in the middle of a heatwave, with the hottest days of 2020 so far. Temperatures as high as 32.6C (90.68F) yesterday and 33.3°C (91.94F) today were recorded, both at Heathrow Airport.

Bournemouth Council had said that people should have stayed away, with COVID-19 still a significant concern and current lockdown restrictions remaining until easing further July 4.

Roads both in and out of Bournemouth have been unusually busy and, in some cases, gridlocked because of the number of cars on the road.

Reports of illegal parking and significant littering have all been made and cleaning crews have even received "abuse and intimidation" while they tried to work.

"We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24 to 48 hours," Council leader Vikki Slade has said.

"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. We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response."

Bournemouth beach during U.K. heatwave
The U.K. is in the middle of a heatwave Getty

There have been a record number of parking fines - 558 - issued and police are "urging people to stay away from the area."

Dorset police said that because of the pandemic, the number of people visiting the area "places a further strain on emergency services resources" and risked a spike in further COVID-19 cases.

"The illegal parking near the beach today was deeply irresponsible and dangerous," local member of parliament Conor Burns tweeted.

"Emergency vehicles would struggle to get through. We need tougher enforcement like clamping. Then look at the beach. Zero social distancing. This isn't over yet folks. It is in all our hands."

This comes after 15 police officers were injured in south west London while trying to break up a street party.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned "utterly vile scenes" as four people were arrested at the unlicensed music event.

Video showing police retreating after being targeted by crowds using the legs of tables to attack police vans.

A statement from the police said: "Police were called to Overton Road, Lambeth on the evening of Wednesday, 24 June to multiple reports of a large unlicensed music event in the street.

"Officers attended to encourage the crowd to leave the location but they did not engage with police.

"The event continued and more officers attended the scene and the group became hostile towards officers."

The Met said a total of 15 officers were injured, "none seriously, although two did require hospital treatment."