GMP received over a THOUSAND reports of people breaking coronavirus lockdown rules last weekend.

The force is pleading with people to follow the rules this coming Bank Holiday weekend - and have enlisted key workers and celebrities to get the message across.

Officers were called to 1,132 incidents across the region on Saturday and Sunday (April 4 and 5) - including 494 house parties; 166 street parties; 122 'group gatherings for sporting activities'; 173 gatherings in parks; and 112 cases of anti-social behaviour.

Police said some house parties had bouncy castles, DJs and fireworks.

The Manchester Evening News was inundated with pictures of people playing football in large groups, sunbathing in parks and holding mass gatherings.

Strict government advice means people are not allowed to leave the house - unless they're exercising alone or those they live with; shopping for essentials; or going to work if their job can't be done from home. 

Greater Manchester Police said the public continue to abide by lockdown measures. But last weekend saw a sharp increase in the number of breaches reported to police.

A large group flout social distancing measures to play football

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said he does not want to take tough measures against people flouting the rules, but that fines and arrests will be applied in the most serious cases.

In a bid to get the public to adhere to the lockdown this bank holiday, GMP will be releasing a collection of videos from well-known personalities, frontline workers, and community members.

The first of the videos features key workers including police officers, a nurse and a teacher.

They are joined by sporting stars such as Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Michael Carrick,Manchester City's Steph Houghton and boxer Anthony Crolla.

Happy Mondays' star Shaun Ryder, Coronation Street's Dan Brocklebank, and Kyle Ross from Fuzzy Sun will also take part in the campaign.

Normally, the Easter weekend would see a hive of activity, particularly in places of worship, beauty spots and town centres - as well as large gatherings of families and friends.

As the UK continues to follow government guidelines in response to the coronavirus pandemic, churches will be closed - including for private prayer.

People will be stopped from taking part in social gatherings, with those outside their own household.

A man sunbathes at Debdale Park

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “We understand the desire people will have to spend time with family and friends over the Easter period; however it is vital that we follow the government guidelines.

"We must do this to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and the NHS by preventing the spread of this highly contagious infection.

"I am incredibly grateful to all those who have provided their own homemade videos to lend their support to the #StayHomeSaveLives campaign because, as stressed by the Prime Minister, the single most important action we can take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to save lives.

"I would encourage everyone to enjoy themselves at home with their loved ones but please don’t socialise beyond the immediate people that you live with.

"Please don’t participate in other social gatherings inside or outside, no matter how big or small.

"We are trying to engage, explain, and encourage everyone to follow the Government guidance.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins is urging people to protect each other by staying in this bank holiday weekend

"However, where people do not comply with the guidelines, we will use the legislative powers.

"We hope that such actions will not be necessary and the public will work with us during this challenging time. 

"GMP and other emergency services are doing everything we can to play our part to protect you and your loved ones, but we need to get through this together, as a community.

"So we ask that you do your part too and follow the government’s instructions.

"We would like to thank the vast majority who continue to comply with these measures, but each and every one of us need take this seriously.

"Finally, I would like to wish you a happy Easter and urge you all to please take care of yourselves this weekend."