CALLS are being made to see a more "robust" approach to enforcing the lockdown with the introduction of 'stop checks' following yesterday's gatherings in Southend.

The Southend seafront was overwhelmed yesterday as tourists and visitors, primarily from London, travelled to enjoy the Saturday warm weather.

The flouting of the lockdown rules has raised the ire of many with #COVIDIOTS trending on twitter.

Now calls are being made to see extra measures put in place to tackle visitors coming to Southend.

Martin Terry is the Southend councillor responsible for community safety.

He said: "So far the softly softly approach clearly is not working.

"There really is no excuse now because there is so much coverage about what is going on.

"The vast majority of people are being responsible and staying at home so there is no excuse for these people to be visiting the seafront.

"We had our community safety officers down on the seafront and they were being verbally abused by visitors. We lost control.

"Threats were being made to our safety officers and normally in that situation we would call the police but there were just too many people to impose the law so we had to make a sort of tactical withdrawal.

Now Martin Terry is calling for stop checks to be implemented on Southend's roads which would see police stop drivers and check if their travel is necessary.

He added: "I think that we need stop checks on the road and officers should ask them 'are you a key worker?'. If they aren't, issue a notice or a fine and turn them around.

"If you are travelling for something like legitimate exercise that's ok but if your travelling 60 miles they need to be turned around.

"I know that they've been stopping people in Brighton on the A23 and I can't see why we can apply this tactic to our roads like the A13 or the A127.

"We need to start stopping people and checking their papers you know if you're going from Rochford to Southend then fair enough but if you're coming from Tottenham then no, they need to be sent back."

Mr Terry is also calling for a response from the government.

"This is a key issue. Seaside towns like us, Blackpool and Great Yarmouth are special cases and we need the government to tell us how to approach this legislatively.

"When the lockdown is relaxed, seaside towns are going to get deluged by hundreds of thousands of people and we are going to be overwhelmed.

"We need something, maybe more powers, to help us control the amount of people.

"I'm really not trying to be the fun police but people need to understand that this is a serious issue."