The scenic beauty of the Mourne Mountains has been left looking like a "war zone" by crowds of unruly youths who descended on Newcastle drinking and partying despite the lockdown.
Locals say they are being "tortured" on a daily basis by the anti-social behaviour which has seen alcohol bottles and rubbish strewn across the Bloody Bridge area, as well as nesting birds killed by fires and a nurse unable to get her car out of her lane because of parked cars.
John Lowry, a former coastguard chief, lives in the picturesque seaside town and said it is a "major problem".
He said: "On Thursday night there were at least 200 people up at the locally named spot called the Buck's Cove - it's two large pools where they can jump in from a height.
"At around 8.30pm the police were just coming down when we were going up and they said, 'We've done our best to try and get them to come down' and they warned us the place was like a war zone. And it was like a war zone - the photographs don't do it justice.
"For the last four weeks I have been doing the litter picking round the bridge itself, round the river where people would swim in the lower pools. I've been doing that because it is my home place," John said.
"They have camped out this week and that's against the rules, there's meant to be no camping.
"There's no social distancing. The contamination that has been left behind between masks and all the drink from every type of alcohol you can find, to drugs bags we saw last night, to the people going to the toilet and the wipes and toilet roll left.
"There has been weeks of it, but it's really ramped up the last three days."
John estimated that the crowds of young out-of-towners age from around 15 to their mid-20s and he has been subjected to foul-mouthed abuse from some.
He said: "I've never seen as many R drivers in my life together in one place, it's incredible. Local people are being tortured.
"And the other night I was down and there was a group and I said, 'A wee bit of distancing there' and one turned round and said, 'The Tories don't keep their distance, so we're not keeping our distance.' This is young people. It is absolutely incredible.
"There's no respect and for all the emergency services as well. Every emergency service was called out yesterday and put themselves at risk."
Police said that on Thursday afternoon they had spoken to young people in the Ballagh Road area, who then dispersed, before they assisted firefighters dealing with a fire.
"We would ask everyone and particularly young people to make responsible decisions and follow the NI Executive Regulations," a PSNI sergeant said.
"We will be conducting patrols throughout the weekend and urge everyone to respect the guidance around safe, social distancing."