Townspeople in Wootton Bassett have reacted angrily to fears the threatened extremist Islamic march was to happen in the town today.
Rumours spread that people supporting the march were on their way to the town from London and some of those opposed gathered in pubs in the town to protest.
Wiltshire councillor Allison Bucknell, whose husband Steve is Mayor of Wootton Bassett said: "There was a rumour something was going to happen so the police had to have a presence in the town. But it has all come to nothing and all it has done is cost the tax payer a lot of money."
She said a group of people described as football supporters had gathered to counter any march.
Coun Bucknell said: "If this march was to go ahead ordinary Wootton Bassett people would close their doors and stay inside but the problem is there are plenty of other people who say they want to defend Wootton Bassett and there is where the trouble could start. It would be far better to ignore the extremists altogether."
She praised the handful of muslim people who live in Wootton Bassett who have spoken out eloquently to put over the views of moderate Islamics.
"What they have said has been very sensible. They are part of the community and know Wootton Bassett but this threat of an extremist march doesn't help anyone. They have had their five minutes of publicity they should leave it alone now."
Wiltshire Police today wanted to say little about the rumours. A statement said the force was aware of a march happening imminently and said it was prepared to react.
It is understood overtime will have to be paid to officers whose shift should have ended at 4pm but were told to remain on standby.
One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We are here today because we heard through social networking sites that the march would take place today. "It may have been a wasted journey for all of us, and if that is the case, we want to say that we will be here again next time we hear that it is taking place." A police spokesman said the operation was being led by Superintendant Gavin Williams. Police in cars have been in the town since later morning after information was picked up on Facebook but no riot vans were in position. These would have been ready if needed. The people who turned up in the town to protest against the march were from the English Defence League.
This is Wiltshire