TIDWORTH mayor Chris Franklin, pictured, has spoken out against latenight drinking in Salisbury.

He says officers who should be used to protect sober areas like Tidworth late at night are being redirected to Salisbury on Friday and Saturday nights to deal with the repercussions of drinking in the cathedral city.

The city sometimes sees drunken revellers reeling out of establishments after 3am and a few need the attention of police.

Councillor Franklin, who had been out with the police on a late-night patrol, says being on patrol in Tidworth can be a lonely affair.

At a meeting of Tidworth town council, he said: “It was scary to think that the nearest back-up is the Amesbury area car which could be five or 55 minutes away.

“At 2.45am it all seems to be kicking off in Salisbury but why pubs need to be open until 3am in the morning beats me.

“It has changed the way the police do their shifts and can mean that police are dragged off to Salisbury, leaving Tidworth with nothing.”

Councillor Andrew Connolly, who has worked as a special constable in the past, said: “We are fortunate that we are in a very safe county and Tidworth is one of the safest places and an extremely quiet place on a Saturday night.

“I do think that Wiltshire Constabulary take a calculated gamble that nothing is going to happen in our subdivision but if it does it means that they have to travel some distance quickly.”

Some members of the public suggested that the lack of police was a possible factor in an incident in the town on 29 December in which a man was injured.

This was discounted by deputy mayor Mark Connolly, who suggested that the important thing was to help the police identify those responsible.