A STERN warning of “firm action” against potential troublemakers on the rail network has been issued as British Transport Police (BTP) gear up to manage thousands of people travelling to Balloch for the European Championships.

The open water swimming event at Loch Lomond runs from August 8 to 12, with ScotRail set to put on more trains and extra carriages to cope with spectator demand.

With Balloch and the surrounding area having experienced several youth disorder incidents of late, both on the trains and in Balloch Park, BTP will be working closely with ScotRail to ensure safety on busy services.

Inspector Chris Shields from BTP said: “Our priority is to ensure that passengers get to and from the events safely and without any problems.

“Those who are out to cause trouble are not welcome on the rail network and we’ll look to take firm action against those individuals.”

Saturday, August 11 will also see a parade, food and drink stalls and live entertainment take place in Balloch as part of the ‘Glasgow 2018’ cultural programme – and Police Scotland have reassured any residents concerned about congestion in the small town during the event.

Inspector Roddy MacNeill of Dumbarton police said a traffic plan will be in place to ease traffic flow at the event site and on approach, with a standard operational order taking into account “expected numbers, risk and required numbers”.

Inspector MacNeill added: “The slipway will be closed for a period to facilitate the event but apart from that Balloch and Loch Lomond Shores is open for business.

“We are well versed in policing such events after the Commonwealth Games and many years at high profile football matches and more.

“We will be assisted by our own marine policing unit, the Loch Lomond Rescue Boat and national park boats.”

Murdoch Cameron, chair of Balloch and Haldane Community Council, has backed residents’ concerns over issues with parking – but says the community are still excited about the festival coming to Balloch.

Mr Cameron told the Reporter: “Parking is always a problem.

“I do support the local community’s residents when their streets are used for parking.

“I do support their concerns – some can’t get to their drive ways. There is a wee problem there.

“It [the festival] can only be good for Balloch.

“It’s going to involve a lot of young people – I think that’s a great thing.

“It’s a very positive thing to show us their talents.

“We are looking forward to it and it will be good for the area.”