A major cleanup was carried out in a park across England after huge crowds left piles of rubbish behind.
The end of the Covid-19 coronavirus “stay home” restriction and the return of the rule of six coincided with a spring heatwave that was the hottest day in March in London in 50 years.
Nottingham had to close two parks after “appalling scenes” of large crowds left behind “nefarious” waste. Nottingham City Council chairman David Mellen said the city’s arboretum and Lenton Recreation Ground were closed on Wednesday because of “the actions of a mindless minority”.
A dissemination warrant was issued at the arboretum when footage posted on social media recorded a brawl, dozens of people drank, ignored social distancing rules, and left large amounts of trash behind.
Mr Mellen said: “We have taken steps to prevent the repetition of the horrific scenes we saw in the arboretum on Monday evening.
“Today the arboretum is closed along with the Lenton Recreation Ground where similar problems have occurred.
“We regret having to take these steps as everyone looked forward to the opportunity to visit our parks. Now that the restrictions are relaxed, we can meet up to six other people outdoors. Unfortunately, the actions of a thoughtless minority have tainted that.
“We will follow up the situation and hope to reopen the parks as soon as possible. The forest recreation area remains open and is a larger, safer space for people to spread out more easily.
“It is unacceptable and unsustainable that our already thin crews have to be transferred from work to communities in our city in order to clean up the clutter that has left our parks.
“We added extra bins – and we ask people to take their rubbish with them when it’s full and dispose of it responsibly.
“In our other parks, we have been conducting increased patrols by community protection officers who, along with police officers, will continue to rigorously enforce the ban on drinking in public spaces across Nottingham.
“None of this would be necessary if people were to take their personal responsibilities seriously, especially at a time when we need to be much more careful and follow the gradual lifting of restrictions to keep this pandemic behind us.”
Birmingham police said no fines were imposed in the city’s Cannon Hill Park, despite the crowds and “music and lighting”.
Adam Jones, of Moseley, Birmingham, said he saw a few thousand in the park Tuesday night while walking his girlfriend.
“It has been noticeably busier since the restrictions were relaxed, but it was very busy yesterday,” the 27-year-old told the PA news agency.
“While there were a few people in small groups who respected distancing, they were overshadowed by many large groups, sometimes up to 20/25 people, booming music.
“We did a lap in the park and when we left it looked like a festival.
“The way it looked this morning was a shame – so much rubbish that one council worker estimated it would take the entire team most of the day to sort out.”
Superintendent Farooq Sheikh of the Birmingham East Police Department said: “We had officers in Cannon Hill Park yesterday after social posts warned that an organized meeting was planned.
“Later that evening the numbers increased and music and lighting equipment was set up.
“We have had a number of complaints from residents about the traffic build-up in the area.
“The crowd was good-natured and busy with officers, and the park was free by 11.30pm. The officers did not have to impose any fines.
“We will have additional police officers in the region today who can use our resources to quickly break meetings that are endangering people’s health.”
Some of the grass-cutting plans in Birmingham’s parks have been suspended to allow council workers to focus on collecting rubbish.
A city council spokesman said: “Unfortunately, scenes like this are not unique to Birmingham – they have been seen across the country since the lockdown guidelines were relaxed.
“Of course we want people to enjoy our parks and the good weather – but everyone has to stay safe, follow the latest Covid-19 guidelines and tidy up for themselves.
“The police are in a position to fix violations of the applicable coronavirus regulations.”
At 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a huge rubbish collection began in Sheffield at 6 a.m. The city council posted a video of rubbish strewn across Endcliffe Park.
The council tweeted, “We know people have failed to socialize in the sun, but this is not what is meant by loosening.
“(Maintenance workers) have been out since 6am, but our resources could be used much better.
“Enjoy (parks in Sheffield) but don’t leave the chaos behind, please love our parks.”
There were also trash problems on Woodhouse Moor in Leeds, as 26-year-old PhD student Sophie Meredith told PA: “It’s really disgusting that people have piled their trash in the bins and on the other side of the grass, and it’s one Problem that occurs every time time is a hot day in Leeds.
“Today was the worst I’ve ever seen and it is likely made worse by the fact that everyone has been locked up for a year and there aren’t enough trash cans in this park and they weren’t emptied a few days ago. ”