Hartlepool Borough Council is asking visitors to stay away from its coastline as the Coronavirus lockdown eases in England.

The authority has issued the call amid concerns people may be drawn to the seaside as the weather improves.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We have a long history of welcoming visitors and holidaymakers to Hartlepool with open arms and we look forward to the day we are able to do this again.

"Although Government advice has now changed and there is nothing we can do to stop visitors, we’re asking people to remember that Covid-19 is still a very real threat.

"Our priority continues to be limiting the impact this vile virus has on our communities and our vulnerable residents and – with this in mind – we are politely asking visitors to stay away.

"Our coastal car parks continue to be closed to help prevent the spread of the virus and we will take enforcement action where this is necessary.

"We know residents are concerned about the prospect of tourists visiting and we are asking people to continue to make only essential journeys, stay at home wherever possible and respect the safety of our communities.”

Dr Patricia Riordan, Director of Public Health at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: "Recently, Boris Johnson announced the UK is “past the peak” of the Coronavirus outbreak and said the “stay at home” slogan would be replaced with “stay alert” messaging.

"However, we must be absolutely clear that although there may have been a peak in London, elsewhere in the country – including here in Hartlepool – we are not out of danger yet.

"Unfortunately, Hartlepool’s trajectory has noticeably increased recently and cases are continuing to increase at a rate which would suggest we have not reached our peak.

"It’s for this reason we are having to urge visitors and day trippers to stay away.”