Drinkers hit bars and pubs across the country for one more weekend of freedom

Drinkers flocked to pubs and bars across Britain tonight for a final weekend of freedom before the Government's tough new 'rule of six' comes into force next week. 

Revellers rushed to busy beer gardens in London, Manchester and Nottingham in their masses tonight ahead of the tightening of lockdown rules in the UK from Monday.

Under Boris Johnson's strict new measures, groups of more than six can be broken up by police who will be able to hand out £100 fines to those who flout the rules. This will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.    

Only schools, workplaces and a limited number of other locations will be exempt. 

The latest measure introduced to tackle the spread of coronavirus comes as a Government-led study today suggested the reproduction 'R' rate could be as high as 1.7 in the UK.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the spike in infections justifies the Government's new rule of six, warning people 'the pandemic is not over'. 

As hundreds of Britons enjoyed a final night of freedom tonight, police bosses urged people to look after each other and avoid a 'party weekend' before the restrictions are implemented.        

Revellers rushed to busy beer gardens in London, Manchester and Nottingham in their masses tonight ahead of the tightening of lockdown rules across Britain from Monday. Pictured: Southbank in London tonight

Revellers rushed to busy beer gardens in London, Manchester and Nottingham in their masses tonight ahead of the tightening of lockdown rules across Britain from Monday. Pictured: Southbank in London tonight 

People can be seen in Manchester City centre tonight, enjoying the last weekend before lockdown restrictions are tightened in England

People can be seen in Manchester City centre tonight, enjoying the last weekend before lockdown restrictions are tightened in England

Revellers can be seen heading out for one last night out before new coronavirus rules come into play on Monday. Pictured: Revellers in Nottingham tonight

Revellers can be seen heading out for one last night out before new coronavirus rules come into play on Monday. Pictured: Revellers in Nottingham tonight

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 'There is a real risk some members of the public will take advantage of the current situation and treat this weekend as a party weekend ahead of the tighter restrictions being introduced on Monday.

'Alcohol and warm weather are not a good combination at the best of times. Using the current situation as an opportunity and excuse to party would be incredibly irresponsible and put pressure not only on policing, but potentially on the ambulance service and NHS.

'We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and we have seen cases increasing over recent weeks. Policing is under pressure like never before, but my colleagues will give enforcement notices if they feel it's appropriate, and we make no apology for doing so.' 

Yesterday, officers told the Telegraph they fear Britain will resemble the 'last days of ' after this weekend amid a storm of decadent planned pre-lockdown parties.  

One policeman, based in the north east of England, said: 'We are worried this weekend is going to be like the last days of

People gather at More London Place near London Bridge in London for one more weekend of freedom before the government implements its new rule of six from Monday

People gather at More London Place near London Bridge in London for one more weekend of freedom before the government implements its new rule of six from Monday

People gather outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London tonight

People gather outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London tonight 

People gather outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London tonight

People gather outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London tonight 

People gather tonight outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London

People gather tonight outside the The Shipwrights Arms near London Bridge in London

'If people think they are not going to be allowed to go out and enjoy themselves for the next few months, they are going to go crazy and we will be left picking up the pieces.'

Britons have promised to run riot and enjoy one last knees-up with friends before Boris Johnson's stringent new coronavirus restrictions come into force on Monday. 

The new rules mean groups of more than six people can be broken up by police, who will have the power to hand out £100 fines.

Many are having to cancel parties after warnings of a rapid increase in infections among people in their teens, 20s and 30s - but fears are now rising that some young people will take this weekend as an opportunity to run wild and indulge in decadence not seen since the collapse of Europe's first great empire.   

A senior officer said they were not sure if police had the

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