SHOP owners fear a protest march through the town on Saturday (March 17) will affect trade.

The National Anti-Vivisection Alliance (NAVA) will be holding a demonstration against Harlan Laboratories in Wyton, a firm that breeds beagles for research companies.

The animal rights protesters are expected to be in St Ives at about 2.15pm for speeches in Market Square followed by a short march. The demonstration will end about 4pm.

The march will start in Broadway before moving along to The Waits, St George's Road, West Street, East Street, White Hart Lane, and Market Hill leading to Market Square where it will end.

Richard Westbrook-Smith, manager of Cadge Menswear in Market Square, said that any protest was bad for business.

He told The Hunts Post: "I'm not looking forward to it, you can lose a whole day's turnover. The last time there was meant to be a march no one turned up but there was still the police presence. When the shoppers saw the police they turned around and went home.

"The time before, they turned up unannounced and because of their intimidating nature, they scared people away. Even if it is a peaceful protest, it's just bad for business."

Vanessa Roberts, manager of the British Heart Foundation, said: "It shouldn't affect us all as long as they're peaceful. It didn't last year."

Sgt Dave Savill: said: "At this time, it is thought that approximately 75 people will attend the event and we have sufficient resources to police this number."

Prior to the march, protesters will demonstrate outside Harlan's laboratory in Sawtry Way.