A Cumbrian police chief has urged Lake District tourists to respect the World Heritage site after a survey showed that nearly 70 per cent of those who visited the area on the weekend of May 30/31 had never been before.

With holiday makers denied the option of travelling abroad because of the pandemic, many people are turning their attention to destinations such as Cumbria and the Lake District - but last weekend's rush of visitors brought a variety of problems, including dangerously parked vehicles and litter, said Cumbria's Assistant Chief Constable Andy Slattery.

In some cases, emergency services vehicles were impeded or would have been unable to reach locations if required because of abandoned vehicles.

The dumping of disposable barbecues, bottles, toilet waste and other litter also caused problems for some communities, and particularly for the National Trust Wardens and National Park Rangers who cleared up 130 refuse bags full of rubbish from beauty spots in the Lake District over last weekend.

Mr Slattery appealed to people to behave responsibly.

He said: "As the lockdown measures are eased across the country and foreign holidays are not available, many people are choosing to visit the Lakes and Dales but we appeal to all visitors to respect the environment and the local communities.

“Surveys conducted by the National Park Authority over the weekend show that 68 per cent of the visitors would not normally have come to the Lakes and many had never visited before, so we want to stress how important it is for new visitors to protect this World Heritage Site. With so many travelling at a time when most food outlets and most toilets are still closed, it is vital that people behave in a responsible and considerate manner.

“We all hope that the tourist economy can start to open up soon and cater for all who want to visit our fantastic national parks but potential visitors need to understand how facilities are still limited. Until camp sites and holiday accommodation are allowed to open, people should not plan to stay overnight in contravention of the Coronavirus Regulations.

“Social distancing must be observed at all times; vehicles must be parked legally and considerately and visitors must take their rubbish away to be disposed of safely and responsibly. Roads blocked by parked cars and piles of discarded bottles and barbecues on the lakes-shores are not acceptable. Now, more than ever, it is vital that visitors care for the area and leave nothing but footprints."

The Government has issue new guidance on gatherings, public spaces and outdoor activities with the changes in lockdown restrictions. This guidance and extensive questions and answers are available the Government's own website and they make it clear that all overnight stays away from home are still prohibited.