COMMUNITY leaders have called on police to take action after videos circulated showing large gatherings in Durham city centre over the weekend.

Vice-chair of the City of Durham Parish Council, Councillor Alan Doig said: “The parish council is deeply concerned at videos which have appeared online showing large crowds of young people gathering in the city and outside shops and licensed premises.

"What is clear from these videos is that rules around social distancing and large group gatherings are clearly being flouted – rules which are in place to protect the public at a time when there have been over 300 new cases of Covid-19 in Durham in the past week”.

He added: “The parish council has written to the Chief Constable of Durham Police to ask what additional measures are being put in place to prevent similar scenes of chaos and thoughtless behaviour being repeated, especially at weekends.

"That being the case, we strongly urge individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and to consider the impact that their actions are having on everyone in our community.

"Added to this, it will be businesses and people’s livelihoods which will suffer if we are forced to go into a Tier 3 lockdown situation.”

Superintendent Steve Long, from Durham Constabulary, said: “We are aware of reports of groups of people gathering in Durham City as they made their way home following the closure of pubs and bars over the weekend. Officers attended and encouraged people to disperse from the area, which they did.

“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to help the public follow the regulations by engaging, explaining and encouraging, and where necessary taking enforcement action

“Following the introduction of the 10pm curfew last month, we have increased the number of officers out on patrol in the city centre on a weekend.

“We are also working closely with our colleagues at Durham County Council, and Durham University’s Security Community Response Team to ensure licensed premises and their customers are aware of the rules and that they are following them correctly.”