A footbridge in Wolverhampton is becoming a magnet for street drinkers and beggars who target commuters.
Police have received a number of reports about issues in Railway Drive, leading to the city’s railway station, in recent weeks.
And councillors are now demanding that action is taken, claiming that the problems are occurring throughout the day as people walk to and from the station during the morning rush hour, as well as in the evening when revellers head into the city centre for a night out.
City centre police officers said that they will speak to businesses in the area to determine the scale of the problem before drawing up a plan of action.
Ward councillor Milkinder Jaspal said he had even received complaints of people being followed by beggars asking for money as they walked into the city centre.
“That station is one of the main gateways into Wolverhampton,” he said.
“It is used by thousands of people a day, and this gives a really bad impression of the city centre to all of those people.
“I am sure it will discourage people from coming here and could damage the economy.
“It is frightening and intimidating,” Councillor Jaspal added.
“My two sons are both black belt in Taekwondo and they have both reported this problem to me and said it made them feel uncomfortable.
“Imagine how a young girl on her own would feel,” he said.
“Something really needs to be done.”
The footbridge was built as a new link from the railway station to the bus station.
Councillor Jaspal today called for action over the problem, saying he believes that it goes deeper than just increasing police patrols.
“Yes, you can put an officer on the corner or install CCTV camera. That’s an easy option,” he said.
“But some of these people really need help.
“If you don’t tackle that, then the problem won’t go away, it will just move to another location.”
By Shaun Jepson and Charlotte Cross