NICOLA Sturgeon has warned of a return to tougher lockdown measures in Scotland if the new rules cannot be followed.

From today, Scotland will enter the Phase One of a four-step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, with Scots allowed to sunbathe, play certain sports and meet people from other households outdoors in parks and gardens.

The move coincides with a period of warm weather, with temperatures set to hit more than 24C in some places.

But the First Minister yesterday admitted she is “a bit nervous” about the impact the changes could have on infection levels.

She said:  “I am worried that the limited changes we are making to these rules, the very careful changes, might lead to much greater change in reality.”

She said she has “every faith that people will do the right thing”, but warned if Scots do not follow guidance there will be “no alternative” but for ministers to legislate and the easing of restrictions could be reversed.

It comes as Police Scotland have warned they will continue to use fines “as a last resort” as they urge the public to avoid busy areas and beauty spots as lockdown measures are eased.

Much of Scotland is set to bask in the sunshine this weekend, with Chief Constable Iain Livingstone warning of overcrowding at parks, beaches and lochs.

He said: “We recognise that people have made significant sacrifices until now, and while the temptation may be to head straight for one of our beauty spots, we would ask people to use their judgment and avoid going to places which are normally busy during the good weather.

“Complying with the legislation about meeting only one other household outdoors at any one time and following the Scottish Government’s guidance about avoiding travelling long distances will stop our parks, beaches, lochs and hills from becoming overcrowded and help ensure appropriate physical distancing is maintained, reducing the spread of coronavirus.

“We want people to enjoy our outdoor spaces safely and our officers will be robustly tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities.”

Irvine Times: There are fears beaches and parks will be overcrowdedThere are fears beaches and parks will be overcrowded

He added that officers will continue to” explain legislation and guidance” to the public and “encourage compliance”.

“We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation,” he said.

“We are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to protect the NHS and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.”