The Leader of Nottingham City Council has called for everyone to take personal responsibility for sticking to rules as they are eased.

Cllr David Mellen’s comments come after large crowds gathered yesterday evening at the Arboretum where ‘selfish minority’ behaved ‘thoughtlessly and recklessly’ by ignoring social distancing rules and leaving large amounts of litter behind.

Councillor Mellen said: “The scenes from the Arboretum yesterday evening are extremely disappointing, with a selfish minority abusing the easing of restrictions and spoiling it for others. We have all made sacrifices over the last year to keep each other safe. Over 600 local people have died due to the virus. We owe it to their families, to each other and to frontline workers not to jeopardise the strides we have made towards reducing the spread of Covid by acting so thoughtlessly and recklessly.

“The roadmap is a cautious way out of this terrible situation and we all need to abide strictly to its rules. They currently allow up to six people or two households to meet outside – but other necessary precautions such as social distancing remain in place. We need everyone to take on their own personal responsibility as the roadmap gradually grants us more freedom.

“We have had discussions with senior police officers and there will be increased presence in our parks. Drinking alcohol in public spaces is not permitted in Nottingham and will be seized on entry to our parks today.

“It’s also totally unacceptable for people to litter our parks in this way. Parks have been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and our staff have worked tirelessly to keep them open, clean and safe. It’s not too much to ask that if bins are full, people take their rubbish away with them and dispose of it responsibly. I’m grateful to both universities who have offered help to clean up today. We want our parks to remain somewhere everyone can enjoy.”