Residents have clashed over fears that North Ayrshire beaches will attract more visitors ahead of the Easter weekend.

Heated discussions surrounding whether members of the public can use the shoreline have erupted online while authorities tell people to stay away.

North Ayrshire Council has closed some beach car parks and are monitoring others and the chief of Ayrshire's police has said 'please do not come'.

Commenting on whether a dog walker could use the beach, one person said: "There's no stopping you just have to park somewhere else".

Another said: "Police can patrol all they want."

A resident told the paper: "The attitudes of some people are frightening.

"Myself and my neighbours in the community do not want an influx of visitors here.

"This is a worrying enough time for everyone without people undermining the government rules and police.

"The weather this weekend is to be beautiful and if everyone takes the same opinion of 'I'll do what I like' then where will we be?

"It's frustrating as the beach park and beach are not closed but perhaps this is something that needs to be looked at?"

However, some said they use the beach for their daily essential exercise and that 'the beach is calming and helps with stress.'

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We would strongly advise residents to continue to follow government guidance this Easter weekend and beyond to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect our NHS.

“When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection.

“This is a message we will be sharing on our social media channels throughout the Easter weekend and would remind people that authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce temporary measures – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

“We have already closed our car parks at tourist locations, including at shorefronts in a number of towns, to discourage people from travelling to these areas.”

Ayrshire's Police Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain said: "Ayrshire has some great parks and beaches including those on Arran.

"If you are thinking of having a day trip to any of these, please do not come.

"Whilst coronavirus is with us, you need to listen to the advice, to stay at home and to help us keep you and your loved ones safe."