Police step up patrols as rowdies hit ale trail

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EXTRA police are being drafted in to stop anti-social behaviour on a Yorkshire rail route which has become popular with stag and hen parties.

Over the coming months British Transport Police (BTP) will carry out high-profile patrols along the trans-Pennine Real Ale Trail, which attracts people to pubs near stations in Dewsbury, Huddersfield and the Colne Valley.

Critics says the trail has been “hijacked” by binge drinkers on weekends.

Yesterday Inspector Richard Price, of the BTP, said: “The Real Ale Trail has been on our policing radar for over a year now and as well as officers regularly patrolling the route, we have been engaging with train operators and the local communities, residents and businesses at stations which are being affected by the influx of people every weekend.

“The Real Ale Trail is a novel and fun experience and the vast majority of the people who follow the trail behave in a decent and respectful manner, and we would like to thank them for such.

“However there are a few whose behaviour, whether fuelled by alcohol or not, is unacceptable.

“While crime is not a big problem, with only a few offences recorded, anti-social and dangerous behaviour of some of the revellers is. This can range from people falling off platforms and running across the tracks, to inappropriate use of language, urinating on platforms and train doors being held open, disrupting services.”

Insp Price fears someone may end up getting killed by a train and warned that law-breakers could be banned from the rail network.

Martyn Guiver, of Northern Rail, said: “We implemented a crowd management plan at Marsden and Slaithwaite earlier this year to assist in managing the situation. Our Rail Response Team is present to deal with a variety of incidents and prevent trespassing on the railway and we have additional control measures to ensure platforms are as clear as possible for passing trains.”

West Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Tim Kingsman said: “We are providing additional patrols including mounted officers at key times to reassure residents and deter offending.”

But he warned that policing alone would not resolve the problems.