SCORES of angry villagers packed into a public meeting in Shrewton to demand action over “ridiculous” rat-running by military vehicles.

About 200 people attended to see Wiltshire councillors, the army and the police face a barrage of questions about the village’s traffic woes.

David Hassett of Shrewton Parish Council said closure of the A344 and major works at Larkhill had made the village’s longstanding problem worse.

He said: “On a regular basis we were getting 1,100 vehicles going through High Street, which is far from acceptable”.

Wiltshire councillor for Till and Wylye Valley, Darren Henry said Shrewton was “helpless” to stop military vehicles, but they were “a fraction of the problem”.

Lieutenant Colonel Stew Andrews said soldiers knew the “out-of-bounds areas”, including Shrewton High Street, but said some did not do what they were told.

He said: “Report it to me and we will get the wrath of military discipline on those vehicles”.

Wiltshire Police Inspector Nick Mawson said officers had to make “difficult decisions” about priorities, but added: “The fact you are all here today means it is a priority locally and there will be enforcement.”

Wiltshire councillor for Durrington and Larkhill, Graham Wright called for people to “relax and plan for delays,” adding “our soldiers need homes and the sooner it’s all over the better.”

Highways chief Councillor Bridget Wayman, said: “There’s not much we can do to stop it [rat running]. It happens all across the county on all sorts of different roads.”

One resident said she had counted 25 cars travelling one-way through Shrewton in a minute. Another asked: “What’s more important, money or life? Somebody’s going to end up being killed.”

Shrewton Parish Council chairman Councillor Richard Harris said Wiltshire Council had been sent a traffic-plan for the village in 2016, but Cllr Wayman said she had never seen it.

Cllr Hassett said this was “ridiculous”, adding that Wiltshire Council had agreed to make Shrewton a 20mph zone but then backtracked.

“What on Earth is going on?” he asked.

Cllr Wright said: “I have been trying to get people in their ivory tower in Trowbridge to understand that the Packway being closed means hundreds of cars are now going up and down these roads.”

He told Cllr Wayman: “Go back and think about that, and not just say ‘it happens everywhere in Wiltshire’.”

Some villagers left the meeting saying it was “a waste of time” and another told the panel: “What you are actually offering amounts to practically nothing.”

The final speaker said: “The effort that’s going into a minor thing has been a shambles. If this is the sort of efficiency we have now, what can we look forward to for the next ten years while we sort the A303 out?”

Cllr Henry closed the meeting.