Covid: Kelvingrove Park disturbance despite Covid breach warnings

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Image caption,
Police had stepped up patrols at Kelvingrove Park

Police have broken up a disturbance in a Glasgow park just hours after its gates were locked to avoid breaches of Covid restrictions.

Officers were called to an incident at about 19:00 on Friday after extra patrols took place to discourage drinking and gatherings in Kelvingrove Park.

A crowd formed despite nine of its 16 gates being closed to control access.

The gathering was dispersed and police remained at the scene.

Earlier in the day police chiefs urged people not to breach restrictions by meeting in large groups in public parks to enjoy the weekend sunshine.

It came after about 400 people were refused entry to Kelvingrove Park last weekend in a crackdown on drinking alcohol in public.

Routine patrol

The nine gates were to remain locked on Friday and Saturday.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "Police in Glasgow were conducting a routine patrol in Kelvingrove Park on Friday 23 April, when they became aware of a large disturbance at around 19:00.

"Officers remain at the scene and inquiries are ongoing."

Image caption,
Nine out of 16 gates at Kelvingrove Park were shut

The Meadows in Edinburgh has also been the scene of recent trouble - including a mass brawl over the Easter weekend.

Under current Covid restrictions, people are only allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings.

Police Scotland said it had cleared the busiest areas of Kelvingrove Park on two occasions due to a lack of social-distancing and it would do the same this weekend if required.

Ch Insp Natalie Carr said: "Officers will be visible and accessible to park users should they need police assistance.

"We would like to remind anyone planning on visiting the park that alcohol is not permitted and, should incidents of anti-social behaviour take place, those responsible will be dealt with robustly."

Glasgow City Council said 413 groups or individuals carrying alcohol were denied entry to Kelvingrove last weekend.

Several more were ejected after being caught drinking inside the park.

Some of those were believed to be aged between 14 and 17.

Image source, Edinburgh Police/Twitter
Image caption,
Police patrols will also be visible at parks in Edinburgh

Stephen Egan, the council's head of parks, said: "Kelvingrove Park remains a stunning open space, but we cannot tolerate the anti-social behaviour that is being experienced in the park.

"So much of that behaviour is being fuelled by alcohol and we have to take steps to protect the park for everyone who wants to visit."

Edinburgh City Council has also issued a warning to people planning on heading to their local park as temperatures rise.

It tweeted: "Drinking in The Meadows, Princes Street Gardens, public spaces is illegal.

"Avoid a fine - don't go drinking in the Meadows or other parks. It's against the coronavirus restrictions law. Be safe."

Media caption,
Police said thousands of people gathered at The Meadows

It came after three people were charged after violence erupted at a mass gathering at The Meadows on 4 April.

Police Scotland said "thousands" of people had gone to the park to enjoy the sunny weather.

The force condemned "blatant anti-social behaviour" after social media footage emerged of young men fighting and throwing debris.