A COUNCILLOR has spoken out about his fears of a second wave of Covid-19 - as hordes of tourists flocked from across the country to bask in the sunshine on a popular beach.

Wednesday saw the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures soaring as high as 28 degrees celsius in some parts of the country.

And it seems that some of the UK's beaches were a magnet for sunseekers - with Southend Beach in Essex particularly packed with visitors from as far away as Manchester and Leicestershire.

And the tourists - who have been blasted by local councillors as "foolish" and "irresponsible" - have left behind piles of rubbish, including Tesco bags, boxes of Corona beer, and plastic toys.

Southend councillors have said they now fear for the safety of visitors ahead of a potentially scorching Bank Holiday weekend this weekend.

Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal, blasted those travelling long distances to enjoy the seaside and warned of a potential second spike if the behaviour continues.

He said: "The more I see of this, the more I fear we’re in for a second wave.

"It isn’t Southend residents, it’s people travelling from outside the borough - as far away as Manchester, from what I’ve heard - who seem to think lockdown is lifted, and Covid-19 is no longer a threat.

"It is a small minority who are acting in this foolish and irresponsible manner.

"But their behaviour impacts on all of us ultimately, if there is a resurgence in infections and we find ourselves facing a second, longer, far stricter lockdown through the summer and into the autumn."

Meanwhile, Labour council leader Ian Gilbert echoed his warnings, and added: "I do have concerns about the weekend. We want our open spaces to be safe and enjoyed.

"I am worried we could see an influx of visitors and we don’t want to see social distancing break down. I think it’s being managed as well as we can at the moment."

Their warnings come as the promenade between Chalkwell and Southend Pier has been temporarily widened to keep people socially distant while using the seafront.

The widened promenade has been made possible by a contraflow system installed by the council, allowing cars to travel in both directions, but with a reduced lane width.

All parking bays along the Western Esplanade are out of use, giving the public a great deal of extra space.

The seafront water fountains have also been turned off in a bid to dissuade visitors.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "There is no law to enforce social distance, it’s Government guidance.

"The focus for police is now narrower - on those activities which are now not lawful or which are not listed as a reasonable excuse for being outside.

"When we come across situations like this then our approach is, and always has been, to engage with them, explain the restrictions and encourage them to do the right thing.

"We’ve found that approach is really working. People in Essex really get what they’ve got to do and we thank them for that.

"As a result, out of the 10,000+ engagements we’ve had with the public since the restrictions came into force back in March, only a small fraction of those have had to result in enforcement."