Alcohol-fuelled crime on railway ale trail ‘nipped in bud’ as police come out in force

Police stock pix.Picture Richard Ponter 134127b
Police stock pix.Picture Richard Ponter 134127b
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Rowdy behaviour on the Transpennine Real Ale Trail which saw it labelled a “monster” by locals has been curtailed after bans on lager and spirits were introduced at pubs.

The trail, which sees ale-lovers travel by train between Batley and Stalybridge, is said to have denegerated in recent years after being popularised by a television show featuring former Daily Telegraph wine writer Oz Clarke and James May of Top Gear.

Locals complained that towns and villages on the route were being invaded by drunken stag and hen parties, with revellers urinating in gardens and even running across railway lines.

West Yorkshire Police have since stepped in and put in place “visible patrols combined with controls on sales of alcohol and enforcement of standards of behaviour”.

By persuading licencees to stop selling lager and spirits on a Saturday, meaning the focus returned to real ale, combined with the presence of mounted police on six consecutive Saturdays last summer, officers say they were able to “nip the problem in the bud”.

Inspector Mark Trueman of West Yorkshire Police said officers were called into Marsden, one of the most popular spots on the trail, from other parts of the force and from British Transport Police to provide a visible presence and tackle anti-social behaviour.

He said plans were in place for this summer, including a visible presence every Saturday, though there are no further plans to limit sales of alcohol.

He said: “We have had great support from the local community. It has been well policed, and the people who attended have been in good spirits.

“That is what we want. Marsden is a lovely place, I would say to people ‘don’t not come to Marsden, but come in the right frame of mind’.”

The safer communities team at Kirklees council said the police presence was “not intimidating and had created a calmer and more secure atmosphere in the village”. It added: “People had been able to open their windows and sit in the garden, things they felt unable to enjoy when rowdy ale trailers were around.”