A COUNCIL is in talks with the police to find ways of stopping scores of people descending on a beauty spot ignoring social distancing guidelines and leaving it strewn with litter and drugs paraphernalia.

Mayor of Richmond Councillor Lorraine Hodgson said people in the town are "shocked" and "outraged" after hoards of people took over the area around Richmond Fall and the Batts drinking and using nitrous oxide capsules.

She said: "We are calling on the police to take action, it really was shocking. I have had so many complaints from people in the town. The police were there but they didn't seem able to take action because they cannot enforce social distancing.

"There were just large numbers of 50 and 60 people in several groups sitting around and drinking. This is supposed to be a family area but you couldn't take children there they had obviously come from further afield. People in the town are just outraged.

"It is almost as if people are sending out information about where to gather for a party. This has now happened on three occasions and it just has to stop."

Mounds of litter were left behind at the scene including dozens of small lnitrous oxide capsules, the gas is inhaled to try and make users feel euphoric and relaxed. It is not illegal to possess the cannisters but is illegal to sell them. They can be very dangerous when inhaled causing extreme dizziness.

A major clean up operation was later launched by local volunteers who collected dozens of bags of rubbish.

Richmondshire District Council said last week it was stepping up patrols in the area after previous problems where they had to organise a huge clean up. They warned at that stage that further action may have to be taken with fines for people littering.

Corporate Director Colin Dales called on people then to observe the restrictions over coronavirus and be alert and considerate. He said they did not want to impose wide restrictions but added: "It would be a real shame if the behaviour of an inconsiderate few reduces access for the considerate majority."

Yesterday the council issued a further statement saying; "We are aware of the issues at Richmond Falls at the weekend and are reviewing the facts we have. We are looking into the problem with partner organisations, including the police, and are exploring what we might be able to do. We expect to issue a further statement tomorrow."

The Mayor said this was the worst incident so far and action needs to be taken now.