A POLICE chief has said the force “wants people to get out in the sunshine and enjoy themselves”.

But Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne warned that officers would intervene and be “proactive” if they saw large gatherings of people.

She spoke on Wednesday, ahead of the hottest day of the year so far, which saw several Sussex beaches filled with with visitors.

Mrs Bourne told Sky News: “(Officers) won’t be stopping you from travelling. We actually want people to get out in the sunshine and enjoy themselves. We have been in lockdown for eight weeks, it’s tough on everybody. So, go out, enjoy yourself, maintain social distancing and remember this is a collective endeavour.”

With the loosening of lockdown restrictions last Wednesday, people are now able to relax in public places with members of their household - though social distancing guidelines are still encouraged. But, in some areas, an influx of visitors made social distancing “increasingly difficult”.

Mrs Bourne said that people are “legally allowed” to drive to the Sussex coast from all areas of England, but pointed to the work of local authorities in discouraging this.

She said: “There is no law stopping people from doing this, but obviously some of our local councils have been saying ‘please don’t travel to us, we don’t want a massive influx’.

“And you can understand why they are putting that message out there because, in Brighton and Hove for example, there are already 270,000 (sic) local residents there. So if everybody merges on to the beach, plus all the outsiders, it will get quite difficult to maintain that social distancing. We are just asking people to be really sensible.”

But she said officers would act if there were “mass gatherings” in the county.

Mrs Bourne said: “Mass gatherings are the obvious one. We know what the regulations say - you can meet with one person from another household provided you maintain social distancing. So if we see large gatherings of people, expect the police to go in and be very proactive, and they will be asking you ‘who is in your household, what are you doing here?’

“But they won’t be stopping you from travelling.”