Police patrol deserted North East beaches as lockdown takes hold

Last week, they were bustling with families enjoying the sun – and risking furthering the spread of deadly Covid-19.

Now, the North East’s most popular beaches are eerily deserted as the public follows the stricter social distancing rules imposed by government this week.

A message to the public in North Tyneside

The sight of crowds flocking to the coast and countryside last week drew widespread criticism and concern that many were not taking guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus seriously.

Just a week later, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, people are banned from driving away from home for leisure activities and police have been given powers to fine those who break the lock down rules.

Northumbria Police have said they will use strict measures where necessary, and have reminded people not to visit other parts of the region for walks or exercise, which is permitted only close to where you live.

It’s possible that wetter and windier weather reduced the temptation to flout the rules this weekend, but police were taking no chances.

Officers were seen patrolling popular coastal destinations including the seafront at Whitley Bay, and seaside car parks were closed.

In Tynemouth, signs warned people to “stay at home”, and a near-empty Longsands beach, littered with just a few people in pairs taking their daily exercise, bore witness to the fact that the new rules seem now to have sunk in.

A very quiet Longsands beach in Tynemouth, North Tyneside

Sunderland’s Roker beach was also near-silent, with just a few figures spotted walking their dogs.

Even in mid-winter it would be rare to see these much-loved spots so deserted, but these eerie images from a spring weekend show how people are now taking the steps necessary to save lives as the Covid-19 pandemic takes hold in Britain.

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