Police order sunbathing Brits off the beach as hundreds flout the lockdown to ...

Lockdown rebels have been ordered off the beach and out of parks by police with loudspeakers today as hundreds continued to ignore social distancing rules to lie in 77F sunshine.

It comes as Downing Street has been forced to warn police officers against 'heavy-handed' lockdown tactics after officers admitted to prowling through supermarket aisles in a bid to catch shoppers buying 'non-essential' items.

Police forces across the country have been accused of being over-zealous in their Easter weekend crackdown as they threatened to check through people's shopping, causing #policestateUK to trend on Twitter.

The warning saw Downing Street warn police today that 'if a shop is open then it will sell whatever it has in stock', while Home Secretary Priti Patel called on officers not to be 'heavy-handed' during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Sunbathing Brits on Hove beach on the south coast were threatened with arrest by police, pictured, after not moving on when told to

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Sunbathing Brits on Hove beach on the south coast were threatened with arrest by police, pictured, after not moving on when told to

Hundreds of people, including these two pictured today in London's Hyde Park, continued to ignore the lockdown rules to take advantage of the sunny weather

Hundreds of people, including these two pictured today in London's Hyde Park, continued to ignore the lockdown rules to take advantage of the sunny weather

Police used loudspeakers to order people off beaches, pictured, and back into their own homes in order to follow social distancing rules

Police used loudspeakers to order people off beaches, pictured, and back into their own homes in order to follow social distancing rules

The widespread action in public places, pictured, comes as Downing Street has been forced to warn police officers against 'heavy-handed' lockdown tactics

The widespread action in public places, pictured, comes as Downing Street has been forced to warn police officers against 'heavy-handed' lockdown tactics

A woman sunbathing in London's Primrose Hill today, pictured, is spoken to by police as part of efforts to enforce the government's lockdown policy

A woman sunbathing in London's Primrose Hill today, pictured, is spoken to by police as part of efforts to enforce the government's lockdown policy

Young people were spotted sneaking into trees this afternoon, pictured, at West Cliff Green in Bournemouth, Dorset

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Young people were spotted sneaking into trees this afternoon, pictured, at West Cliff Green in Bournemouth, Dorset

It comes as Cambridge Police's official Twitter account boasted that officers had visited a local superstore this morning to snoop on shoppers and found aisles selling non-essentials were 'empty'.

The tweet caused outrage from social media users, with many pointing to a post sent by the same account hours earlier thanking a local chocolate shop for dropping off a 'generation donation of goodies' at its police station. 

Meanwhile a viral video showed a South Yorkshire police officer scolding a family on their own doorstep for letting their young children play on their front lawn.

Crowds of people still flocked to London's Hyde Park today, pictured, despite the clear orders to stay inside amid the coronavirus pandemic

Crowds of people still flocked to London's Hyde Park today, pictured, despite the clear orders to stay inside amid the coronavirus pandemic

Some lockdown rebels, pictured, decided to take a dip in the sea off the coast of Brighton amid the soaring temperatures

Some lockdown rebels, pictured, decided to take a dip in the sea off the coast of Brighton amid the soaring temperatures

A substantial police presence has been in force throughout the day, pictured, to crack down on those flouting the rules

A substantial police presence has been in force throughout the day, pictured, to crack down on those flouting the rules

The force later apologised for the encounter, which it called 'well-intentioned but ill-informed', after the officer told the young family: 'You do not want your children getting the virus, it does not stop in front of your garden.' 

Warnings that officers would stop and search those venturing out during the four-day break saw Britain's roads left eerily quiet on Good Friday, on what is usually one of the busiest days of the year for car journeys. 

Motorways, usually teeming with millions of holidaymakers making their way to seaside resorts, were left deserted this morning as top cops warned they would set up road blocks to grill motorists on why they were not at home.

A video shows a South Yorkshire police officer scolding a family on their own doorstep for letting their young children play on their lawn during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has killed 7,978 people in the UK so far

Cambridge Police's official Twitter account boasted this morning that officers had visited a local superstore and found aisles selling non-essentials such as barbecues and sun loungers were 'empty'

Cambridge Police's official Twitter account boasted this morning that officers had visited a local superstore and found aisles selling non-essentials such as barbecues and sun loungers were 'empty'

Police chiefs yesterday called for laws to ban Britons from driving long distances and flouting rules to exercise more than once a day ahead of a 77F (25C) Easter weekend.

Cambridge Police's tweet in which it gloated of prowling through non-essential aisles was met with anger by many on social media. 

The tweet read: 'Officers visited Tesco Barhill this morning as part of their patrols around supermarkets and green spaces this weekend.

'Good to see everyone was abiding by social distancing measures and the non-essential aisles were empty.'

But in a follow-up on Twitter the force said the initial post, which has since been deleted, was made by an 'over exuberant officer' and that its position was in line with national guidance.

'For clarification, the force position, in line with national guidance, is that we are not monitoring what people are buying from supermarkets,' it said.

'This message was sent with good intentions by an over exuberant officer who has been spoken to since this tweet was published.'

The force added that while it has had to issue a small number of fines to those ignoring lockdown guidance, none of these were in relation to shopping or supermarket visits.

Among those to chastise the post was Pip Moss, who wrote: 'The law doesn't forbid the purchase of non-essential items when also shopping for essentials such as food.

'Your officers time could be better spent, and over-stepping the law like this harms public confidence in the police.'

Another user added: 'One day you're going to have to look back on all this and tell people that in the midst of crisis you chose to spend your time patrolling around looking to enforce laws that didn't exist.'  

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A before and after comparison shows Lyme Regis beach in Dorset, both today as it lies almost completely empty (left), and at this time last year when it was teeming with holidaymakers (right)

The M5 motorway in Worcester, Worcestershire, which is normally busy during the Easter bank holiday getaway, is quiet as the UK continues in lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus

The M5 motorway in Worcester, Worcestershire, which is normally busy during the Easter bank holiday getaway, is quiet as the UK continues in lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus

Durham Police were castigated by social media users after seemingly suggesting that people should not be using their bicycles to exercise this weekend, in contrary to current government advice 

Speaking yesterday, Northamptonshire Police said the 'three-week grace period is over' and threatened that they may even soon start 'checking the items in baskets and trolleys'.

Its Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: 'We will not at this stage be starting to marshal supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it's a legitimate and necessary item. 

'But again, be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings, and the pleas that I'm making, we will start to do that.'

And he added: 'If things don't improve, and we don't get the compliance we would expect, then the next stage will be road blocks and it will be stopping people to ask why they are going, where they're going.' 

But asked about the prospect of police

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