A PAIR of beach-goers parked themselves on the pebbles and lit a barbecue as they flouted new "stay at home" measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Police arrived to move the duo along from their chosen site near Hove lawns shortly before 3.30pm.

Passers-by rallied in support of the force with some yelling at the couple to "get off the beach".

One witness, who asked not to be named, said: "She seemed to be horrified that they were being asked to move along.

"There was a lot of support for the officers and members of the public were shouting at her to move along and listen to the police."

In a video of the incident an officer calmly explained to the pair that "everybody is sick of what is going on in the world" but said that seeing the two of them enjoying a barbecue on the beach, contravening Government advice, "was going to wind people up".

Police spoke to them for several minutes.

Eventually, one of the officers poured a helmet full of water over the barbecue to extinguish it.

Police have been given new powers to enforce social distancing guidelines, which aim to limit the impact of coronavirus in the UK.

The force, which has had regular patrols along the seafront and officers posted at Brighton Station since the announcement of the UK lockdown, will seek to "engage, explain and encourage" people to follow the guidelines before using any form of enforcement.


The incident followed an announcement by Brighton and Hove City Council urging people to stay at home, after councillors received calls from residents who were concerned by "the number of people at the beach today".

Discussing the announcement, council leader Nancy Platts said: "It's disappointing if people are not going to abide by these rules.

"It means it will take longer to get over this crisis.

"The worry is that people may not know yet that they have coronavirus and then pass it on to someone else, who may be vulnerable.

"They are then at risk, along with the NHS staff who treat them.

"It's not worth that risk, to sit on the beach and have a picnic.

"Other people's lives are worth more than that."

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund