VILLAGERS have been invited to a public meeting about problems caused by the controversial Real Ale Trail.
Hundreds of drinkers visit Marsden and Slaithwaite each weekend as part of a popular rail-based jaunt.
Police have stepped up patrols in the Colne Valley villages in the past month after complaints that revellers were being rowdy and urinating in public.
Dorothy Byram, who lives near The Railway pub in Marsden, has helped organise a meeting about the problems next Monday.
“It’s beyond a joke. People feel they can’t go out of their doors or sit in their gardens,” she said.
“We’re now getting drinkers coming in their hundreds at the weekend. People are not going into the shops anymore because they feel intimidated by the huge crowds of people outside the pubs.
“There has been urinating in the streets and in people’s gardens. In one case, a man urinated in front of a three-year-old child.
“People feel they can’t go outside their front doors. If they say anything about the anti-social behaviour, they get abused.”
Mrs Byram said there were problems in the village every weekend.
“It starts on Friday but it seems to be a different lot of people, they tend to be older,” she said.
“But Saturday is horrendous from lunchtime onwards. It gets really bad around teatime.”
Mrs Byram has helped organise a public meeting about the problems at Marsden Conservative Club at 8pm next Monday.
Clr Donna Bellamy, who represents the area on Kirklees Council, will attend as will the police and representatives of Ossett Brewery, which runs the Riverhead pub on Peel Street.
Marston’s, which owns The Railway, and Thwaites – which runs The Star on Station Road – have also been invited.
Mrs Byram hopes residents can come up with ideas to reduce anti-social behaviour.
She said: “There has been a police presence in the last few weeks and it has made a difference. But when they don’t come, we still have a problem.
“One person has suggested putting cameras on Station Road and see if that has an impact.
“I think there should be bouncers on the doors of the pubs to stop people taking their drinks outside.
“We’re prepared to try anything to stop as many people coming,” Mrs Byram added.