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Crowds descended on beaches, parks and football grounds today, ignoring the government's lockdown pleas to remain at home.

Despite the freezing temperatures and the Prime Minister's demands to only go out for essential journeys, many packed out busy parks as people struggled for space.

Hyde Park and Victoria Park in the capital were heaving – as were beaches up and down the country.

The first weekend of the new lockdown brought thousands out in Brighton as Covid marshals patrolled the seafront alongside police, sending many on their way.

People wrapped up warm in hats, gloves and scarves to brave the cold – despite instructions to stay inside.

Victoria Park in east London was packed at lunchtime
(Image: Marcin Nowak/LNP)

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A further 563 people have died in the UK because of the coronavirus, it was confirmed earlier.

A total of 54,940 more positive tests were returned in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began to 3,072,349

Boris Johnson told people to stay at home as much as possible as the mutant strain of the virus rips through the UK.

That didn't stop many as they took the opportunity to exercise outdoors once a day, as the government's guidelines allow.

Crowds of people ignore lockdown guidance on Tyneside
(Image: North News & Pictures

Richmond Park was also very busy
(Image: Alex Lentati/LNP)

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Meanwhile, dozens of football fans broke lockdown rules by gathering outside their team's stadium ahead of an FA Cup match.

Marine AFC supporters lined the streets of Crosby, Merseyside, prior to Tottenham Hotspur's arrival yesterday.

Police officers were stationed outside the Non-League club's tiny ground however no arrests were made, although some fans were told to follow social distancing.

Crowds gathered to get a glimpse of Tottenham's mega stars at Marine
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

In a now-deleted tweet Match of the Day shared pictures of the crowds, adding: "Spurs are in town. And look at the scene in Crosby."

Many social media users slammed the BBC for being 'irresponsible' by appearing to celebrate the 'scene'.

Merseyside Police confirmed the supporters had left the area by the evening. Tottenham won the tie 5-0.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay at home as the mutant strain of the virus rips through the country
(Image: REUTERS)

This weekend, new guidance was issued to chief constables as part of a tough new crackdown on those flouting the rules.

They state you are allowed to exercise in outdoor places including parks, beaches, forests, heritage sites, and playgrounds.

Today's grim tally is more than 100 higher than last Sunday's 455 – and is the third highest Sunday death toll since the start of the pandemic back in March.

Police joined the Covid patrol on the seafront at Brighton
(Image: Liz Pearce/LNP)

Do you think the lockdown measures should be tightened? Comment below.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock did not rule out lockdown rules being strengthened as the virus continues to rage out of control across the country.

He told the BBC: "I don't want to speculate because the most important message is not whether the Government will further strengthen the rules.

"The most important thing is that people stay at home and follow the rules that we have got.

"And that, in terms of the scale of the impact on the cases, that is the most important thing we can do collectively as a society."