England locks down: revellers take to streets, police attacked and exodus from London

5 November 2020, 06:22 | Updated: 5 November 2020, 11:08

Police detain two men in Leeds last night
Police detain two men in Leeds last night. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

England's second national coronavirus lockdown has started today following a final night of revelry in cities around the country.

People can only leave home for limited reasons, including work, education, buying food, and exercise.

Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and many other businesses have been forced to close for the next four weeks.

READ MORE: Police break up illegal rave at covid hotspot

Speaking to MPs yesterday, Boris Johnson said the restrictions will end on the 2nd of December if the rate of transmission of the virus drops.

Last night there was jubilant scenes as drinkers took to the streets of cities across England, however in some areas police were attacked, making arrests.

A group enjoying a night out in Newcastle
A group enjoying a night out in Newcastle. Picture: PA

Officers were attacked in Merseyside as revellers made the most of their final opportunity to go out to before England's four-week lockdown took effect with fireworks fired at them.

From Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 - a Government majority of 478 - for the new restrictions.

The lockdown is intended to protect the NHS as the Government seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Soho in London was also busy last night
Soho in London was also busy last night. Picture: PA

Merseyside Police said in a statement hundreds of people gathered at a bonfire on Meadow Crescent, Woodchurch, where officers had fireworks thrown at them after being called just before 9pm.

Chief inspector Gary O'Rourke said: ""Not only did police and fire patrols come under attack on their arrival, which could've had catastrophic results, but there was a blatant disregard for Covid-19 restrictions, with hundreds of people in attendance drinking alcohol, mixing with other households and ignoring social distancing.

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"We will not tolerate this behaviour and are now looking at a number of lines of enquiry, including examining footage and speaking to witnesses, to ensure robust enforcement action is taken."

Meanwhile, Sussex Police have arrested two men and appealed for witnesses after another man suffered serious injuries in a fight involving around 20 people.

Officers were called to Montpelier Place, Brighton, at 10:15pm to find the victim, who was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital for treatment, where he remains in a serious condition.

There was an increased police presence in the area while enquiries continued, with detective inspector Owen Radley urging "anyone who witnessed the assault to make contact with us immediately".

Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police's response to Covid-19, said the force would undertake extra patrols to ensure public compliance with the regulations.

Chief constables in the north-west of the country said they would target the minority of the public who flouted rules by holding large gatherings, music events and parties.

And on social media Londoners reported high levels of traffic in the city as people attempted to leave before lockdown.

"Total traffic madness cycling home at 7pm," Mary Creagh, CEO at walking charity Living Streets tweeted.

"Tonight, everywhere is a high traffic neighbourhood."