Bosses are praying for bad weather on Super Saturday to stop mass gatherings in Southend.

The deputy leader of Southend Council, Ron Woodley, has told the Echo he is hoping for bad weather to hit the seafront to kurb the recent rise in large crowds.

This comes as senior figures at Southend Council urged yobs to start taking responsibility or face seeing the borough back in lockdown.

They spoke after a number of mass gatherings spilled out across the area over the weekend.

Traders fear the threat, although as a last resort, would be a “nightmare” for the economy, having only just started to recover from the hit of the first wave.

The warning comes after beer bottles, cigarettes and nitrous oxide pellets were left at Old Leigh after a rave on the seafront on Friday night.

Police were then forced to invoke emergency powers to prevent a planned repeat the next day and 50 people were moved away from the area before they could cause any disruption.

Another large gathering also took place at Hadleigh Castle, where a man was reportedly hit with a bottle.

Basildon Standard:

Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer contact, said: “When it’s a case of public order it’s largely down to the police.What the council can do, and this is last resort, is follow in Leicester’s footsteps. 

“Southend could potentially also have a local lockdown, but the last thing any of us want is to see the economy close when it’s just getting back on its feet.

“The council had to submit a local lockdown plan, just in case, by the end of June, which we have done. 

“If there is a large spike the Director of Health can then instruct that area to close.

“When people start to get to get intoxicated they let their guard down. Please remember you can be asymptomatic and can still pass it on to your parents or grandparents. There are fatal consequences - take responsibility. Nobody wants this to happen.”

Southend Council deputy leader Ron Woodley, added: “We don’t want to go into local lockdown, it really shouldn’t be necessary. I’m just hoping for bad weather on Saturday which isn’t right considering we are a seaside town.”

Emma Dadswell, director at Toys N Tuck, Queens Road, Southend, said: “It’s so nice to just be back open but even now some aren’t even confident enough to be going out. We have a few customers who are booking slots so they can come in without others there. Going into lockdown again would be an absolute nightmare.”

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, said: “Following disturbances and anti-social behaviour on Chalkwell Seafront, in Old Leigh and in Leigh Library Gardens, I have received a large number of emails from upset residents who simply cannot understand what is happening at the moment. 

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic and people should not be gathering in vast numbers.

"It would appear that many of the people engaging in anti-social behaviour were visitors, if that is the case it is outrageous they have travelled here to cause mayhem.

"I fully accept that it is not easy to close beaches, but Old Leigh would be easy to reduce access to.”