POLICE have warned they will be patrolling Lacock this weekend to check on large groups of people gathering near the river.

The checks following multiple reports of large groups of young people gathering in the picturesque National Trust village, in particular by the river, and breaching social distancing rules.

A spokesman for Chippenham Police said: “Over recent days, as the weather has remained hot and sunny, we’ve had several calls in to our control room as well as online reports in relation to this issue.

“We have also been made aware by local residents that these groups of people are leaving large amounts of litter in the field by the river.

“Lacock is one of the most beautiful spots in the country – we are lucky to have it in our county to enjoy. Please, enjoy the area safely and responsibly and do not leave your litter behind.

“There are cows, sheep and lambs living in these fields and your mindless actions are causing harm to these animals and our surroundings.”

They added: “Amongst the items left strewn across the field yesterday were glass bottles, plastic bottles, cigarettes, disposable barbecues and much more.

“This is disgraceful and disrespectful. People should feel proud to live in or near such a popular spot which is visited by thousands of tourists every year – please, have respect for your surroundings.

“If you are visiting Lacock over the weekend, please adhere to the current guidelines of doing so with one other person from outside of your household, adhere to social distancing at all times and take your litter home with you.

“Officers will continue to visit the area regularly and conduct patrols. If you have concerns, please call us on 101 or visit our website to submit your concerns.”

Officers are also expected to patrol popular beauty spots, parks, lakes and recreation areas elsewhere in north and west Wiltshire where visitors are likely to congregate in breach of social distancing guidelines.

Visitors to the Barton Farm Country Park next to the River Avon in Bradford on Avon have been condemned for leaving behind litter from picnics in the sunshine.

One resident, Kate Russell, said: “An entire bag of litter including drinks cans and bottles, food wrappers and drugs bags picked up in the beautiful fields by the river at Barton Farm earlier. Disgraceful behaviour.”