A dispersal order has been imposed in central London after cops said they expected ‘anti-social behaviour’ with thousands of football fans in the capital.
About 20,000 supporters are said to have packed into the city ahead of Friday’s Euro 2020 match between Scotland and England.
Images showed some fans draped in flags diving into the William Shakespeare fountain in Leicester Square.
While others were pictured crowding into Hyde Park as revellers got into the party spirit ahead of the game at 8pm tonight.
The Met Police said it would take action in an effort to bring down anticipated crime in the area.
The force said in a statement: “Due to the high profile UEFA EURO Football match between England & Scotland on Friday 18th June at 8pm and the anticipated anti-social behaviour this may bring. A section 35 dispersal authority has been implemented.
“This has been authorised by Inspector Dodds from 1500 hours 17/06/21 till 1500 hours 19/06/21 in the West End area in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of members of the public being caused alarm harassment and distress and the occurrence of criminality in the local area.”
The Daily Record reports that about 800 supporters had gathered at the normally sedate Serpentine lake on Hyde Park.
London cops watched nervously from the sidelines as bemused joggers and couples on pedaloes looked on at the men in kilts.
Eight riot vans were parked up with about 100 officers at the scene to respond if things got out of hand.
One officer on the scene said: “There’s been no aggression and no real bad behaviour.
“On saying that, there’s a fair number of people who are already very drunk and that’s why there’s such a visible police presence.
“Everyone would prefer it if social distancing was observed, given the pandemic that is ongoing, but we fully expected this kind of gathering at Hyde Park.”
Videos showed fans arriving at King’s Cross Station in numbers with many travelling through the night and in the early hours of this morning to make it down to the game.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was fearful of crowds gathering in London with Covid restrictions still in place.
He said earlier: “It is absolutely fantastic that Scotland are playing in their first international tournament for 23 years and I cannot wait for Friday’s match.
“Scottish fans are renowned around the world for bringing a party atmosphere with them to the big tournaments but with Covid restrictions still in place on both sides of the border, the best thing for fans without tickets to the game or a safe place to watch it is to enjoy the game from Scotland and not come to London.
“In an ideal world I would welcome the Tartan Army to London for this match with open arms, but with Covid cases increasing, and with so much at stake as we fight this awful virus.
“I’m afraid that it just cannot be this time, so the best thing to do is not to come to London and instead enjoy the game at home.”
London is forecast for rain throughout most of Friday which could put a dampener on outdoor celebrations for fans.