26 June 2020 20:32
This is the mess that was left behind after a mass gathering of hundreds of young people at a Welsh beach. Two men in their 20s were arrested and at least one person was injured after scenes turned nasty when huge crowds gathered at Ogmore-by-Sea on the hottest day of the year so far. Police said they were called at around 8pm on Thursday to reports of a "large gathering and a disturbance taking place". Clips show violent scenes involving large numbers of young people. Images and video widely shared on social media showed the huge crowds gathered on Thursday evening after the hottest day of the year so far.
First Minister Mark Drakeford warned on Friday that he will stop easing lockdown restrictions in Wales if there continues to be incidents like those seen in Ogmore-by-Sea on Thursday. Writing on Twitter, Mr Drakeford said: "We will not be able to continue easing restrictions if scenes like last night continue to happen. A VICIOUS brawl involving hundreds of young people broke out at a packed beach. Two men in their 20s were arrested after the brutal fight in front of horrified onlookers at Ogmore-by-Sea in Glamorgan, Wales on Thursday evening. 5 Hundreds of young people fought at Ogmore-by-Sea in Wales Credit: @TheExiledRobin/Twitter 5 Videos of the fight were shared on social media Credit: @TheExiledRobin/Twitter Another neighbour said she saw "crowds on the beach partying and men urinating and defecating in the car parks and street", with glass bottles and "human excrement" left on the ground.
The fight happened on the hottest day of the year so far in Wales, with temperatures hitting 31.4C. South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said he was "disappointed" to see large crowds gathering during the coronavirus pandemic and slammed them for a "contagion of stupidity". Most read in News JET tragedy 97 died in jet crash after pilots 'forgot' to put wheels down during Covid chat FIGHT FOR LIFE Hero delivery driver tells of trying to 'stem the blood' of Glasgow victim LATEST KNIFE ATTACK Cop fights for life & 5 injured as stabbing spree suspect shot dead by police VERY VERY FRIGHTENING UK set for more storms in weekend washout after hottest day of year RACE ROW Ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says 'black people are more racist than white people' SAND STORM Man on packed beach tells TV 'I don't know anyone with Covid, it doesn't matter' Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said it had no choice but to declare a major incident and condemned the "irresponsible" behaviour of crowds, some of whom got involved in fights. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government had the power to close beaches if people ignored coronavirus rules. 5 Videos of the fight were shared on social media Credit: Media Wales 5 Hundreds of young people were seen punching and kicking each other Credit: Media Wales Police have launched an investigation after hundreds of young people were filmed in what appeared to be a mass brawl on a beach in south Wales.
It comes as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council declared a major incident after services were "completely overstretched" as huge numbers of visitors crowded onto the beaches during the day. Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty later urged people to follow social distancing rules in the hot weather or risk causing a spike in coronavirus. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said extra police patrols had to be brought in following the "irresponsible" behaviour of crowds who gridlocked roads, dumped rubbish, abused refuse collectors and parked illegally. Image caption Large crowds were seen at Ogmore-by-Sea on Thursday evening Lockdown restrictions will not be eased if large parties and fights at beaches continue in Wales, the first minister has warned. Videos on social media showed large crowds at Ogmore-by-Sea, Vale of Glamorgan, followed by violent clashes on Thursday evening. Leader of Vale of Glamorgan council Neil Moore called the scenes "disgraceful" and said those causing disorder showed a "complete disregard" for their own and the community's safety. The car park at Ogmore beach has been closed and will remain so until at least the beginning of next week." "They should have done a little bit more for the residents and local people," she added. Speaking to Gareth Lewis on BBC Radio Wales she said the party went on late into the night after the incident, adding it was not a one-off but an "ongoing thing" locals had to deal with. South Wales Police said two men in their 20s had been detained following the fight in Ogmore-by-Sea at about 20:00 BST on Thursday. Det Ch Insp Tom Moore said the scenes at the beach were "totally unacceptable" and the force was working to "identify those who were responsible". "We believe that a large number of youths have travelled to the area from various areas of south Wales to become involved in serious, violent disorder," he said. Mr Drakeford said the scenes "threaten the health of people in Wales and undermine the sacrifices the majority of people have made during this ongoing crisis". South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael described it as a "contagion of stupidity" and said people were "completely ignoring the risk to public health". Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said the scenes were the actions of a "bunch of drunked-up young people", but if it kept happening the Welsh Government would have to "look again at the lockdown rules". In Wales, it is illegal to gather in large groups and people are advised not to travel outside of their local area because of the coronavirus pandemic. But on Thursday police, the council, and the RNLI had to respond after crowds gathered at Ogmore-by-Sea, as temperatures soared across Wales. The force tweeted a plea to parents to "check where your children are" on Thursday evening after reports of "large numbers of young people" gathering on the coast. The force said it was "aware of videos circulating on social media" and inquiries were ongoing. Image caption The beach has since been closed by the council Ogmore resident Sue Francombe said the scenes at the beach on Thursday evening were "absolute carnage". Another resident, who did not want to be named, said it had been "building for a few days" with more people heading to the beach, and by Thursday "a few hundred were drinking" on the seafront. South Wales Police said it broke up the crowds at the beach at about 20:00, with the council forced to close the car park. But the police were called again to the beach at 22:50 after some of the earlier group returned. The force said that while witnesses reported someone had been hurt, as of late Thursday evening, no victims had been identified or had come forward. In a separate incident, Vale of Glamorgan council enforcement officers said they were faced with "a number of hostile and aggressive youths" tombstoning at Rhoose Point on Thursday night. Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, Mr Michael said it was "disappointing" scenes of packed beaches in England were now spreading to Wales. Responding to questions about why police did not stop people flocking to the beach before the fight, Mr Michael said there was a "difficult balance" to keep, but it was "not something where you could enforce your way out of it". "The police will enforce if it is absolutely necessary, but that's the last resort if people don't use common sense," he said. "We need people to use common sense and that has been the characteristic in south Wales throughout the pandemic to date. Image caption Residents were out cleaning up the beach at Ogmore on Friday morning following the brawl Under current coronavirus guidelines in Wales, people from two different households are able to meet outdoors, but must maintain social distancing. On Thursday people were urged not to use public transport to get to beaches, due to the travel restrictions, and to keep trains and buses free for key workers. But on Thursday evening, images appearing to show coaches leaving Barry Island were posted on social media, and people tweeted trains were crowded with people sitting on taped-off seats. The first minister said repeated scenes of people breaching rules could have an impact on the Welsh Government's approach to easing the lockdown."If we were to see some scenes like that last night, continuing to happen and if they were a more general breakdown of the efforts that we all have made in that would inevitably have an impact on our ability to go on, lifting restrictions," he said.