MORE than 30 youths have been caught on camera breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by gathering at a reservoir to have a boozy party.

Walkers this morning found the mess left behind by the group at an area known locally as The Delph at Stoney Bank Lake off Stones Bank Road, close to Darwen.

One image taken on Wednesday evening shows teenagers flouting social distancing guidelines by singing and dancing in close proximity to one another.

Discarded beer bottles, nitrous oxide cartridges, plastic bags and cups and ripped up cardboard boxes were strewn across the grass close to the lake, an area that was completely free of litter on Wednesday morning.

A resident in the area, who took the photos but did not wish to be named, said: “Social distancing or no social distancing, no matter what time or year we’re in, this is not acceptable.

“Enjoy the environment, party, dance, swim, but don’t leave it in this state.

“I’m sure the owners of the cars who were parked at the side of the road will be back to clean up their mess.

“I’d love to see the social media posts of that.”

The gathering, which at its height saw more than 30 youths partying around the water, is prohibited under the government’s guidelines on lockdown.

The resident added: “We’re going back up there today to clear up and protect the wildlife.”

Cllr Julie Slater, who represents the West Pennine Ward on Blackburn with Darwen Council, said the incident was frightening.

“We had a lot of calls yesterday and the day before, about people up at Waterside and the Lodge, groups of youths. The residents in those areas are quite disturbed,” she said.

“Lockdown rules have been relaxed a little but we still need to act with caution.  “These youths just don’t give a damn. They could be passing the virus between them and in turn could then pass it on to their parents or their grandparents.

“And that’s not to mention the damage they’ve caused.

“Do their parents know where they are? What if they’d got into trouble in the water - it’s extremely cold. It’s frightening really and has caused much concern in the area.”

Councillor Colin Rigby said the group were a ‘disgrace’ and had acted with ‘absolute stupidity’.

He said: “I hope the police broke this up and got the names and addresses of everyone there.

“There should be some action taken against them as they’ve broken lockdown rules. They should be made to go back and clean up the mess they’ve made too.

“It’s a disgrace. They’ve just disregarded everything. It’s absolute stupidity.

“I don’t have the patience for them; they’re breaking the rules. And not only that, they left the place like a pigsty.”

A spokesperson for the police said: “We were alerted at around 6.30pm to a large gathering just off Stones Bank Road.

“An officer attended the incident and the group were asked to move on.

“There was a large amount of litter left and officers have notified the council about this.

“We would like to remind people to adhere to government guidelines on lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.”