POLICE say they have been receiving reports of “large groups of people having barbecues on Clent Hills” despite strict government warnings – urging people to keep their distance from each other to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Lee Page, Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector for Bromsgrove and Redditch, took to Twitter to highlight the problem which comes on the day it was confirmed the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have both tested positive for deadly COVID-19.

Mr Page said of the situation: “This does not count as daily exercise. We will direct gatherings of three or more people to disperse. We are in the middle of a national health emergency.”

Reports of the gatherings come a day after police vowed to get tough on groups of people in Lye who have continued to congregate outside despite public pleas on loop for people to stay inside to give medics a chance of treating people who fall victim to the virus which was first detected in China in January and has since spread around the world.

The News also received reports yesterday of people continuing to enjoy social activities in Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge.

Stourbridge PCSO Neal Hunt said police had to talk to a family playing badminton in the park and an elderly couple sat on a bench who confessed to having been out for three hours.

He added: "We also had children playing football with parents sat down reading a book. This isn’t good enough, we all need to take the situation a bit more seriously.

"If fines are the way to get the message across then this will be implemented.

"We are getting numerous calls off local residentsnot adhering to the guidelines." And he urged: "Please stay at home. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."

A shop worker also told the News she had seen "people just strolling - popping in for ice creams" as the weather has been nice, and an elderly man grabbing coffee, and she added: "They just haven't got a clue. It's an utter joke trying to get them to understand."