Southend councillors were called into crunch talks about safety of visitors ahead of a potentially scorching Bank Holiday weekend.

Last night the councillors joined an emergency briefing regarding how to keep visitors to the coast safe and maintain social distancing.

It came as hoard of daytrippers flocked to Southend seafront yesterday, raising concerns over how the town will cope ahead of a scorching Bank Holiday weekend.

Southend’s beaches were a magnet for visitors from as far away as Manchester, Leicestershire and Hertfordshire.

And Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal, blasted those travelling long distances to enjoy the seaside and warned of a potential second spike if the behaviour continues.

His warning came as Southend councillors were due to have an emergency briefing last nigh to consider changes needed to keep visitors safe over the bank holiday weekend.

>> Medical expert slams seafront beach-goers for ‘making a mockery’ of covid-19 crisis

Mr Dent said: “The more I see of this, the more I fear we’re in for a second wave.

“It isn’t Southend residents, it’s people travelling from outside the borough - as far away as Manchester, from what I’ve heard - who seem to think lockdown is lifted, and Covid-19 is no longer a threat.

“It is a small minority who are acting in this foolish and irresponsible manner, but their behaviour impacts on all of us ultimately if there is a resurgence in infections and we find ourselves facing a second, longer, far stricter lockdown through the summer and into the autumn.”

Labour council leader Ian Gilbert also echoed the warnings.

He said: “I know it has already been busy on the seafront and beaches, the reports I have had so far are that generally people are respecting the rules for social distancing and that it’s being managed.

>> Pictures reveal packed Southend seafront as social distancing 'goes out the window'

“The feedback is that the contraflow system has been working OK and we will be reviewing to see if we need to make any changes for the weekend.”

Mr Gilbert added: “I do have concerns about the weekend; we want our open spaces to be safe and enjoyed.

“I am worried we could see an influx of visitors and we don’t want to see social distancing break down.

“I think the it’s being managed as well as we can at the moment.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “There is no law to enforce social distance, it’s Government guidance. The focus for police is now narrower - on those activities which are now not lawful or which are not listed as a reasonable excuse for being outside.

“When we come across situations like this then our approach is, and always has been, to engage with them, explain the restrictions and encourage them to do the right thing.

“We’ve found that approach is really working. People in Essex really get what they’ve got to do and we thank them for that. As a result, out of the 10,000+ engagements we’ve had with the public since the restrictions came into force back in March, only a small fraction of those have had to result in enforcement.”