VISITORS have flocked to beauty spots to soak up the sunshine over the weekend, but bringing congestion and unwanted rubbish to some rural communities in the process.

Residents expressed anger and dismay as sunseekers rounded on Richmond over the weekend, leaving mounds of litter and claims of urinating in the open.

The hot weather and easing of lockdown travel restrictions led to a huge number of day-trippers visiting the town.

One resident said the town was busier than it is usually in the summer holidays.

Another said people were ‘furious’ about groups of visitors who left behind piles of litter and urinated in public places.

He said: “I live here and people are furious. The police seem powerless against it all.

“Hundreds of people off their heads on drugs and drink, locals having to pick the rubbish up after.

“There have been broken bottles smashed up in the river and laughing gas (nitrous oxide) canisters all over.

“Not one bit of social distancing at all, we can’t even take our children for a walk.

“It stinks of urine and someone even found a bucket of human waste.”

Other residents complained of the congestion as some visitors parked on both sides of residential streets around the town’s beauty spots, creating navigation nightmares for locals.

One said: “It was just rammed with people, I’ve never seen it so busy, even in the summer holidays.

“People in Slee Gill were on the pavement all the way up, parking both sides of the road and generally not very considerately.”

Gangs of youths were said to be congregating around the falls, reportedly drinking alcohol and inhaling nitrous oxide from small gas canisters.

North Yorkshire Police maintained patrols over the weekend, aided by Royal Military Police and council security officers.

Officers closed the falls car park and stopped people from carrying alcohol to the River Swale beauty spot.

A force spokesman said: “We will continue to play our part in enforcing the regulations and are grateful for all of the support and positive engagement we have had from members of the public as we police what has been, and continues to be, a fast-moving situation.

“If you turn up somewhere and it’s clearly busy, don’t risk it. Have a plan B and even a plan C to ensure you keep away from crowds and protect yourself and your loved ones.”

He urged visitors to respect the local community, to park sensibly and take their litter away with them.

Meanwhile, Durham Police closed a lane of a road in Upper Teesdale again yesterday after visitors continued to flock to the area.

Police urged people to stay away from the area after officers were forced to deal with congestion involving more than 200 cars near Bowlees, on Saturday.

Signs were erected warning that cars would be towed away, while cones were also placed along the both sides of the B6277 Bowlees to Ettersgill Beck road.

Officers from Barnard Castle reported large numbers visiting Low Force in Teesdale bringing heavy congestion to the B6277 again yesterday.

A spokesman said: “We understand people want to enjoy the sunshine but we would encourage them to be sensible and think twice about visiting this area. If you do visit, please keep two metres apart and take your litter home.”