WEST YORKSHIRE’S most senior police officer has vowed to do more to tackle the Ale Trail “hijackers”.
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore walked the streets of Marsden yesterday and admitted levels of crime and anti-social behaviour at weekends by Ale Trail revellers have become ‘unacceptable’.
And he pledged more resources to halt yobbish behaviour.
Mr Gilmore and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, yesterday addressed villagers and councillors at The Riverhead pub, Marsden.
The meeting, also attended by other police officers and public transport representatives, was organised to tackle problems caused by the Ale Trail.
The trail was originally set up so real ale drinkers could sample brews at pubs next to the Trans-Pennine line.
But after its appearance on the BBC’s Oz and James Drink to England programme, the trail was hijacked by stag, hen and other parties creating huge levels of anti-social behaviour in the Colne Valley villages.
Residents have complained about visitors urinating and vomiting in streets and gardens as well as vandalism and other anti-social behaviour.
Mr Gilmore admitted that villagers were being let down if they had to repeatedly call the police.
He said: “When you get to the point where you’ve got to make a call, we’ve let you down.”
Mr Gilmore added: “I give you my assurances that we will resource it. I hope over the next three to six months a real plan can be made.”
Mr Gilmore and Mr Burns-Williamson discussed spreading the message that rowdy parties were not welcome on the trail.
The chief police officers added they would be gathering evidence ‘covertly and overtly’ to discover which venues were the greatest sources of trouble.
From June 15, pubs which have signed up to the RATL (Real Ale Trail Licensees) agreement will not serve rowdy parties, people in fancy dress, lager, large measures or shots of spirits. Click here to read our story on the move .
But not all pubs near Slaithwaite and Marsden stations have signed up for the scheme.
Police may petition local authorities to close down licensed venues which have become a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Licensing reviews can take place but it has to be done on evidence that they are serving people who are drunk.”
Bringing into force a bylaw banning street drinking in the villages was also discussed.
Residents suggested restricting rail services to the villages on Saturdays, but rail operators have said such a plan was unlikely to be accepted by the Department for Transport.