Parents have been warned that they will be slapped with a fine if their child is found to be repeatedly breaking Covid-19 rules by congregating in large groups in County Durham.

Consett Police said they have dealt with a number of incidents over the last few weeks which has seen children congregate in large groups.

Using body-worn cameras, officers will capture the offending youths on CCTV which will help identify them so officers can pay their parents a visit.

Although the force said the response from parents has been "fantastic" they warned that repeat offenders will see enforcement action.

Inspector Dave Stewart from Consett/Stanley Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "As we approach the half-term school holidays, I would like to thank the majority of youths in the Consett and surrounding areas that have displayed a commendable attitude towards the Covid-19 regulations in respect of gatherings outdoors.

"That said, sadly there is a minority who over the last few weeks continue to gather in groups in contravention of the regulations.

"Over this time we have worked to engage, educate and encourage the youths to stop any anti-social behaviour and any breach of Covid-19 regulations.

"In some cases, this has worked, in other cases, we are experiencing the same individuals exhibiting the same behaviours.

"We have now arrived at the point where in cases of repeat behaviour enforcement becomes the only reasonable option.

"To this end officers will be directed to capture via CCTV and body-worn camera images of those youths who are acting in an anti-social manner and breaching Covid 19 regulations.

"They will then identify individuals and officers will attend their home address and speak with their parents/carers.

"We have done this over the last couple of days and the interactions with the parents/carers have been fantastic and have provided very positive results.

"Should this process fail to stop the behaviour then the final enforcement action of the issue of penalty notice fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations will be issued to the parents/carers.

"I would stress it is a minority and the conversations with those with parental responsibility have been excellent, but I simply wanted to ensure the community that after efforts have been made to educate and encourage have not produced the required results of keeping everyone in the community safe then enforcement action will be taken."

Due to coronavirus restrictions, it is currently against the law to meet outside in groups of larger than six people, which includes children.

People can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

They are also banned from meeting socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble.

Anyone involved in holding an illegal gathering of over 30 people can be fined £10,000.