Police have warned the public of the danger of flood “sightseeing” after people were seen running into the tide and watching the drama with children on their shoulders.

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Forces issued the warning after reports of crowds gathering to watch last night’s tidal surge which hit communities along the east of Britain.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said sightseers placed themselves at “significant risk” in Great Yarmouth.

He said: “In the Gorleston area, from Riverside Road to the Ocean Rooms, and on to the beach and amusements, large crowds - including people with small children on their shoulders - are gathering very close to the seafront.

“There are serious concerns for their safety and police officers will be visiting this area to urge these groups away from danger.”

Chief Inspector Kate Thacker said: “Some of these people have no concept of the danger they are putting themselves in and we are urging pedestrians to keep away from the flood water and sea front and for traffic to avoid the town centre.”

Concerns were raised following reports of people at Cleethorpes running into the tide and standing near the sea to see what is happening.

Humberside Police said: “The consequences of this are severe and the force of the tide and the wind could take those people away, with nothing anyone can do to stop it.”

Essex Police also urged the public to stay away from affected areas.

“Police are receiving information that people are going to the area to watch the flooding,” a spokeswoman said.

“The high seas and rising water is unpredictable and the emergency services do not want to have to rescue people who have put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.”

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