Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, has slammed irresponsible people who are flouting social distancing rules and breaking into closed play areas in the borough's parks.
Last week Thurrock Council, following government guidelines, closed all park play areas and outdoor exercise areas because it is not possible for residents including families to observe social distancing when using them.
- the council has found barriers and tape removed from equipment
- there have been reports of people flouting the rules to climb into these areas
- someone has even cut a padlock on a gate to get access
Cllr Gledhill said: "This kind of behaviour is selfish and completely irresponsible. By doing this people are putting the most vulnerable members of our community at appalling risk of catching what for them could be a deadly disease. These foolish actions can only help spread the virus and possibly prolong the amount of time we all have to observe these restrictions.
"It is up to all of us to play our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus and it’s mind-boggling that anyone would behave like this when the nation faces the most difficult situation we have seen in many of our lifetimes.
"I can assure anyone who damages any of our property or equipment we will throw the full force of the law at them. Cutting a padlock and removing signs is criminal damage plain and simple and we will not hesitate to prosecute where we have evidence."