Published Monday, 28 May 2012
Crawfordsburn beach, where around 3,000 gathered at the weekend. (© Pacemaker)
It is thought around 3,000 people enjoyed the warm weather at the Co Down park, and Alex Attwood said many had been "brought to this area through a social media message that a party would take place".
Riot police were called in to the area to control what Mr Attwood described as "a difficult situation".
Plastic bags and the remains of barbecues were among the litter left strewn across the beach and Department of Environment staff began work at 6am to clear up the area, where Minister Attwood said "the amount of litter, cans and bottles was staggering".
Crawfordsburn beach was one of 11 areas given a Blue Flag last week, in recognition of its cleanliness.
But the Minister said there could be tough consequences for those who littered the area.
"I want people to continue to visit and enjoy themselves. The price cannot be at the cost of excess drinking, rubbish everywhere, and upset to others," he explained.
"If there are any actions, including criminal proceedings to be taken, I will support them."
On Sunday, the number of sun seekers who had travelled to the picturesque Co Down beach was so great that police advised motorists to avoid the Seahill and Helen's Bay/Crawfordsburn areas.
ENTER A LOCATION FOR 5 DAY FORECAST