MORE than 200 troops will “invade” Dewsbury on Saturday.

But it is very much a friendly invasion, as troops from the 3rd Battalion The Rifles are granted the Freedom of the Borough.

The honour, from Kirklees Council, comes in the wake of soldiers from the regiment risking their lives in the deadly Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Some 220 soldiers are expected to march through the streets of Dewsbury at 11am on Saturday, with the Mayor of Kirklees, Clr Eric Firth, taking the salute outside Dewsbury Town Hall.

The regiment was formed only four years ago as infantry battalions merged, but it has maintained the tradition of recruiting in the Dewsbury area. The parade will be led by The Waterloo Band of the Rifles and will start in Wakefield Old Road.

Lieut Col Charlie Maconochie, commanding officer of 3 Rifles, said: “The historic links between 3rd Battalion The Rifles and the town of Dewsbury mean a great deal to us.

“We are both humbled and proud to be able to mark them with a Freedom Parade through the town centre. We cherish the relationship we have with the community in Dewsbury and it will be a special moment.”