Covid rule breakers have been arrested during a large illegal gathering as revellers refused to stop event.

Officers were called to Audley Way in Basildon at about 3pm today and were seen making the arrests in the street.

Police say attempts to engage with people at the gathering and encourage them to follow the regulations have not been successful and officers have made a number of arrests.

A dispersal order is currently in place covering an area within the boundaries of Great Oaks and Southernhay as well as the Craylands testing facility at the junction with Churchill Avenue, and Basildon railway station.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said: “This unauthorised gathering is a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s COVID-19 regulations and poses a very real health risk through the spread of the virus.

“Our officers have tried to engage with those at the gathering to explain the regulations and encourage them to do the right thing.

“Sadly though, that approach has not been successful, so we are now taking enforcement action including making arrests.

“I know this is a challenging time but we all have a responsibility to follow the regulations and keep each other safe.

“The vast majority of people across Essex have been doing the right thing and I want to thank you for that.

“When we have to focus our resources on dealing with breaches of COVID regulations like this, it impacts on how our ability to respond to other incidents as we’ll have fewer officers available.

“Sticking to the regulations helps us to do what we do best – help people, keep people safe, and catch criminals”.