SOUTHEND seafront was “overwhelmed” with “selfish” daytrippers from London as temperatures topped 22°C.

Despite the strict lockdown measures still being in place over the weekend, visitors flocked to the seaside, some of whom became abusive to council officers deployed to move them on.

Pictures shared on social media on Saturday sparked an angry reaction from Southend Hospital.

Re-tweeting one of the images which showed the crowds on the seafront, an account attributed to the hospital’s critical care unit said: “Think we might be busy in a couple of weeks folks!!!”

And a furious councillor hit out at the situation, labelling the people on the streets as “ignorant”.

Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for community safety, said: “I have to say, I’m furious. We’ve simply been overwhelmed, and the central seafront is absolutely packed.”

He added: “I honestly can’t believe the ignorance of people. We’ve got our NHS staff making sacrifices to keep everyone safe and healthy and then we have a bunch of Londoners come up and ignore all social distancing.

Halstead Gazette:

All quiet - Essex Police at the seafront yesterday morning

“We can’t handle this as a town. It’s selfishness and I know there are some facilities open down there and they acting as a sort of magnet for these people.

“We had community safety officers down there and when they’ve asked people were they’re from they all said they were from London.”

The council boss added: “Our primary concern here is stopping the spread of Covid-19.

“Maybe we need a more robust approach to enforcing social distancing with things like road closures and increased fines because the advisory approach is just not working.”

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The council, like many other seaside towns across the UK, has been appealing to the Government for support and advice during this difficult time.

However, Mr Terry said so far the authority is yet to hear anything from the government.

“We’ve reached out to the Government for advice but we’ve heard nothing,” he said.

“The Government has got to be clear about places like Southend. It needs to be clear and robust about what it is going to do to help us.”

Each weekend, Southend Council has pushed its campaign urging people: “Don’t Visit Southend” which has been largely effective.

As part of that, the council-run seafront car parks remain closed and parking in seafront bays from Leigh to Shoebury is banned.