A Cumbrian police chief has urged tourists to stay away from the Lake District.

Andrew Slattery, assistant chief constable of Cumbria Police made the call after thousands descended on tourist hotspots in the national park, in particular Ambleside, Bowness and Keswick, over the weekend, while attractions still open experienced an “influx” of visitors.

Mr Slattery said tourists ignoring Government advice to avoid non-essential travel and social distancing – measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus – risked pushing the county’s health service to “breaking point”.

“I must urge people living outside the county not to visit,” he said.

“A national emergency shut-down of businesses and schools is not an excuse for a holiday.

“The health, social care and emergency services in Cumbria are resourced to serve the 500,000-resident population and will be stretched to breaking point by this crisis.

“Large numbers of visitors will only place an additional burden on these hard-pushed professionals.”

Reinforcing the message after two busy days in the Lake District, no doubt fuelled by a spell of good weather, a police spokesman said, “now is not the time for tourism”.

The situation has led to a furious response from communities in the Lake District, with many taking to social media with the message ‘Cumbria is closed’.

Jonathan Benson, a farmer from Langdale, posted on Facebook: “We are all going to end up on lockdown and nobody wants that.

“Car parks are full, they are parking along the road sides. You can stay at home and get this thing over and done with.

“Businesses will find it hard for a month and I understand a lot of my friends rely on tourism. But people will lose loved ones if we don't get on top of this.”

The traditional weekly gathering of motorcyclists at Kirkby Lonsdale was also met with strong words from Cumbria Police, along with a reaction from social media users.

Yorkshire Dales National Park, chief executive David Butterworth, issued the same warning after the region also witness an influx of visitors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the Government may impose stricter measures on people’s movement if the guidance on non-essential travel and social distancing continue to be ignored.