Published: 14:33, 31 July 2020
| Updated: 15:11, 31 July 2020
A council is begging sun-seekers to stay away from its packed beaches - as thousands flock to the coast during today's heatwave.
As temperatures creep into the mid-30s on the hottest day of the year so far, huge crowds have made a beeline for the Kent coastline.
Photos show huge numbers of people packed onto Viking Bay in Broadstairs and Margate Main Sands.
Thanet District Council, which covers popular seaside areas including Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate and has already experienced problems with large crowds during the lockdown, is now asking people to stay away.
It tweeted: "Please avoid our most popular beaches Joss Bay, Botany Bay, Viking Bay during the heatwave today as it's now extremely busy.
"We have 19 miles of coastline, so consider all the places you could visit or come back at a quieter time."
Motorists are facing lengthy delays across the county as those heading to the coast fill up the roads, and queues are stretching for miles on several routes.
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has warned those heading to the beach to stay safe.
"We don't want you to go home leaving somebody behind," he said. " We do have to match facilities to the numbers of people arriving, and that's going to be quite difficult.
"Not every establishment is open, not every establishment can accommodate anything like the numbers they used to accommodate.
"So it's up to everybody to play by the rules, be sensible."
During another sweltering heatwave last month, 62,000 people packed onto Margate Main Sands and Viking Bay in Broadstairs - far exceeding the safe limit for social distancing measures.
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks
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