The Leader of Richmond Council has warned that residents who ignore Government guidance on social distancing are putting their lives, and the lives of others, at risk.

Over the past few days, the Council has received a number of reports of residents ignoring the new Government distancing rules that have been put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance states that everyone should stay at home and that people should only go outside for food, health reasons or work - but only if you cannot work from home and stay two metres [six feet] away from other people.

However, since Saturday [March 21], several social care workers have reported that whilst visiting the homes of vulnerable residents in the borough, they have struggled to access a small number of properties due to picnics and mini ‘street parties’ being held in the street.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “I don’t like having to chastise residents.

"99 per cent of people are following the rules around social distancing and doing their bit to stay at home and not make non-essential journeys.

“However, I am shocked and appalled at the very small number of people that seem to be content with putting their lives, and the lives of others at risk.

“The Police have confirmed that they will take action to stop this senseless behaviour."

Cllr Roberts also urged residents and businesses to "play by the rules" because "this [COVID19] isn’t a game."

He also warned that "these kinds of decisions might not make you ill, but they might be deadly to an older person, a nurse, a social worker or child."

According to Richmond Council - an estate agent has continued to open a number of branches, despite the Government ruling that they should close.

And that, staff members have also been seen ‘flyering’ households to tout for business.

In addition, The Council also say that barrier tapes had been 'ripped' off children's playground areas despite them being closed in order to fall in line with the Government guidance.

As a result, Parkguard - the Councils park security contractors, have increased their patrols of borough parks to encourage residents and visitors to abide by the two-metre rule.

Whilst they have been reinstating barriers around playgrounds, Parkguard security contractors have also had to ask people who have been holding picnics and gatherings to move on.