Sunderland City Council were left angered after beachgoers left the city’s beaches covered in rubbish as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further eases on restrictions this week with pubs, restaurants and cafes all set up open on July 4.
New rules will let people see as many friends and relatives as they like, and allow cafes, cinemas and bingo halls to open their doors once again.
And when it is not possible to stay two metres away, people will be asked to keep to a social distance of “one metre plus”.
Residents flocked to the seaside in Sunderland yesterday as temperatures across the region hit highs of 28 degrees and people met friends outdoors while socially distancing.
But council workers and volunteers were left devastated after tonnes of rubbish was left on the beach at Roker and Seaburn.
In a Facebook post, Sunderland City Council said: “We are so very sad. This was the scene last night after people had visited the beach yesterday.
“What if our staff and volunteers just left it for your return visit today? Would you be happy to sit amongst it? Come on, get with the programme!
“Not only is it disrespecting our wonderful natural asset, but it’s also unsightly and dangerous too. And could have a devastating impact on wildlife.”
Pictures from the scene show empty alcohol bottles, plastic bags and food packaging.
They urged beachgoers to pick up their rubbish and warned that people could face fines of up to £2,500.
The council continued: “Anyone caught dropping litter will face fines of £150, rising to £2,500 if the fixed penalty notice is not paid and the case ends up with conviction in the Magistrates Court.
“The council will also be handing out fines to anyone caught drinking alcohol on the beaches or at the seafront, who is in breach of its public spaces protection order.
“People allowing their dogs to foul the beaches or go onto parts of the beaches where dogs aren’t allowed over the summer months will face fines of up to £75, with a maximum fine of £1,000 if this is not paid and ends up with a conviction in the Magistrates Court.”