The organisers of a cook out staged by a Croydon restaurant on the Kent marshes have admitted it "got out of hand" but denied any illegality after hundreds of people attended, prompted an emergency services response.

The cook out was set up by Flavour Boss, a Caribbean takeaway and delivery based in Croydon, in a "secret location" on Romney Marsh in Kent.

After hundreds of people showed up to join in, emergency services including the police and ambulance crews arrived to control the event amid a reported break down in physical distancing designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

One witness described seeing officers in riot gear.

Tickets were sold for £27.54; however, Flavour Boss director Orette Williams said the money was to cover the three coach-loads of people who attended the event and the company gave out food free of charge.

Under current government Covid-19 guidelines, it is against the law to hold a gathering of more than 30 people without permission from the local authority and police.

Williams told the PA news agency that he was given permission for the event but it was withdrawn 48 hours beforehand after police found out that coach-loads of people would be attending.

"It did get a bit out of hand, with regards to the social distancing," he said.

"We were stuck between a rock and a hard place. What was I going to do? I was going to lose £2,000 on the coaches," he said.

"We don't host illegal gatherings, we did not break the law - the police knew this event was taking place. They were there from the start."

Williams added that he had been given "mixed signals" by Folkstone and Hythe District Council, which he said gave permission for a gathering that followed social distancing rules.

The council confirmed that police were patrolling the area.

In a post on Facebook, it wrote: "We are aware of the large unauthorised gathering taking place at Greatstone Beach. It is causing delays in the area so please bear this in mind if you have travel plans.

"Kent Police is reminding those attending of the latest government advice around social distancing and encouraging them to adhere to it."