POLICE are, for the third time this week, appealing to residents to stay indoors - after neighbourhood teams reported yet more groups of youths congregating in areas around the city.  

Under government guidelines, residents should be staying at home and only going out of the house once a day for exercise. 

In a Facebook post, York West Police said: "Lots of people of all ages sunbathing and having picnics at Millenium Bridge and the Knavesmire. Please do so in your own back gardens or not at all. How many times do they have to be told - this not an overreaction but in the interests of coronavirus being stopped in its tracks as soon as possible." 

Speaking about the reports received, Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, who is coordinating North Yorkshire Police’s operational response to the virus said:  “We are now at the stage where it is vital that our communities pull together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this includes our young people.

“Parents and carers, I’m appealing to you to speak to the young people in your families and ensure they are aware of the threat this virus poses, not only to our immediate families and communities but our country as a whole.

“I realise and understand that staying inside together in our homes for long periods of time can be stressful and that young people may want to go out and see their friends. But please, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions, stay inside and use alternative forms of communication such as phones and social media apps to keep in touch with each other.

“Policing in our country has always been by consent and we rely on our local communities support to help us to keep North Yorkshire one of the safest places in the UK. We do not want to have to take an enforcement approach to this situation and issue dispersal orders or fines. But please be assured, if we have to resort to these measures, we absolutely will.”