THOUSANDS of people descended on the Lakes at the weekend, prompting warnings from the police and residents.

Cars and vans were illegally parked by beauty spots while a number of people have camped and left piles of litter behind.

“Significant problems were encountered over the weekend with parking in popular areas of the Lake District,” a police spokesman said.

“In some cases emergency services vehicles were impeded or would have been unable to access some locations if required, due to abandoned vehicles.

“The use of disposable barbecues has caused problems across the county at a time of extreme fire risk. Recent fires in moorland areas of the region illustrate the risk posed.

“The dumping of disposable barbecues, bottles, toilet waste and other litter has also caused problems, particularly for the National Trust wardens and National Park rangers who have cleared up 130 refuse bags full of rubbish from beauty spots this weekend.”

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: “Many people are choosing to visit the Lakes and Dales but we appeal to all visitors to respect the environment and the local communities.

“Surveys conducted by the National Park Authority over the weekend show that 68 per cent of the visitors would not normally have come to the Lakes and many had never visited before, so we want to stress how important it is for new visitors to protect this World Heritage Site.

“With so many travelling at a time when most food outlets and most toilets are still closed, it is vital that people behave in a responsible and considerate manner.

“We all hope that the tourist economy can start to open up soon and cater for all who want to visit our fantastic national parks but potential visitors need to understand how facilities are still limited.

“Until camp sites and holiday accommodation are allowed to open, people should not plan to stay overnight in contravention of the coronavirus Regulations.

“Social distancing must be observed at all times, vehicles must be parked legally and considerately and visitors must take their rubbish away to be disposed of safely and responsibly.”

“Roads blocked by parked cars and piles of discarded bottles and barbecues on the lakeshores are not acceptable. Now, more than ever, it is vital that visitors care for the area and leave nothing but footprints.”