As lockdown restrictions are eased, police are urging people to enjoy the Easter weekend sensibly to help keep themselves and others safe.

From Monday (March 29), groups of six or two households have been able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, and outdoor sports facilities have reopened.

The ‘stay at home’ rule has ended but with many restrictions still in place, people are still guided to minimise travel where possible.

Superintendent Julia Pope said: “We all welcome this latest easing of lockdown restrictions which gives people the opportunity to reunite with loved ones in an outdoor setting.

“It’s been great to see the vast majority of people still following the guidance, keeping to the ‘rule of six’ outdoors and maintaining social distancing.”

Officers across the county were called to a number of outdoor spaces, including Brighton beach front, on Tuesday (30 March) after reports of large gatherings.

Supt Pope added: “What we don’t want to see is people taking advantage of the new freedoms that have been granted by gathering in large numbers. We are not out of the woods yet.

“Covid-19 is still a very real and present risk and we must continue to follow the government’s guidance to help stop the spread of the virus.

“Everyone has a personal responsibility to follow the regulations and we are asking people to consider their actions and the impact it may have on themselves, their loved ones and the wider community. We continue to be grateful to all those who have followed the rules.”

Supt Pope said Sussex Police would continue to use the 4 Es policing approach, with officers engaging with those they see out and about, explaining the current Covid-19 regulations and encouraging people to follow government guidance but, where there are flagrant breaches of the restrictions, enforcement action will be taken.

“We know it’s been an incredibly long and difficult year but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We must stick together and carry on the good work to keep everyone safe and ensure the roadmap out of lockdown can continue as planned,” she said.

Sussex Police continues to work closely with partner agencies as part of the Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF), to help protect and support local communities through the pandemic. The SRF works to co-ordinate and combine the efforts of local authorities, health, emergency services and the voluntary sector, to prepare, respond to and recover from incidents and help keep people safe.