PARKS across Colchester will be closed unless the public heeds warnings about social distancing, a leading councillor has said.

Martin Goss, Colchester Council’s environment boss, said he would not hesitate to ban people from using sites across the borough.

It came after people ignored rules over the weekend and were seen sunbathing and having barbecues in the town’s parks.

Mr Goss said he had been inundated with calls about people ignoring the Government advice aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “One of the biggest reasons for the calls was people having family over which is prohibited or having friends come round for a barbecue.

“We have been told not to have people round for gatherings.

“The second biggest reason was about people using the parks. Most people have been sensible and using then in the right way.

“But there were some complete and utter morons who were seen having a barbecue, fishing by High Woods Country Park and sunbathing.

“There were people using the outdoor gym equipment, using the basketball areas ignoring the signs saying they are closed.

“We are now going to rope the areas off to make it abundantly clear to not touch them.”

Mr Goss said he had reported people the police as a result.

In one case he was called to a play park where people were seen sitting on a bench.

Play areas across the borough are closed until further notice.

Mr Goss said it was vital people followed the advice with the Easter holidays approaching.

He said tougher restrictions would be put in place if the minority continued to flout the rules.

“The majority of people seem to be behaving themselves,” he said.

“People need to wake up and smell the coffee, this is a serious problem and we need to listen to the government.

“The bottom line is if it continues I will not hesitate to close every park in Colchester.

“It means there will be no way people can break the law.”

The council has also closed all of the car parks serving its parks and countryside sites but left the parks open so far.