TRADERS in Greenwich were furious after thousands of Olympic equestrian spectators were shepherded inside large metal barricades between the town's train station and the park - completely bypassing the shops, bars and restaurants and the market.

Their nightmare began on Saturday - the first day of the equestrian events - when shops had employed extra staff and bought lots more stock, expecting a bumper day of business.

But their great expectations turned to horror when they realised Olympic security guards had erected barricades and were marshalling spectators away from the town centre.

Even visitors who had nothing to do with the Olympics were stopped from going outside the barricaded walkway, preventing them getting into the town centre.

Traders accused Olympic chiefs of "a massive betrayal" after they had promised them a business boom during the games to appease them in the run-up to it after they had to put up with months of disruption.

Traders were gathering together to sign a petition and were demanding urgent action to remove the barricades lining a route between Greenwich station and Greenwich Park, where the equestrian was taking place.

Lara Boyle, 44, who owns and runs Beauty and the Bib, a baby clothing shop and supplier, said: "My blood is boiling over this, it's an absolute disaster. It won't ruin us but there are some traders in the town and the market who will go to the wall over this.

"All of us have employed extra staff and bought in lots more stock because obviously we were preparing to have tens of thousands of Olympic spectators in town.

"Then suddenly overnight before we arrived here on Saturday morning the Olympic security people had erected these large metal barricades and they were shepherding people all the way from Greenwich station to Greenwich Park inside them.

"They did exactly the same thing at the end of the events. No one was allowed to step outside of them so the town centre was like a ghost town.

"We're all devastated and we feel totally betrayed because we had to put up with enormous disruption during the run-up to the Olympics but we were appeased with the promise that our businesses would boom during the games when all these thousands of people turned up.

"I sat in a restaurant on early Saturday evening and it was deserted. It felt like a Monday evening in February.

"It's appalling. People's lives are going to be ruined by this, yet the Olympics organisers said these games would provide a big business boost for London.

"We're all getting together now to try to do something about it before it's too late. We don't know who is responsible for the barricades - is it LOCOG, is it Greenwich Council, is it G4S, is it Transport for London?"

A Greenwich Council spokesman said: "LOCOG are responsible for the barriers in Greenwich Town Centre and, at our request, they have left gaps so that visitors can cross over roads and enjoy all the shops and independent traders around Greenwich Market and town centre.

"We have not received any formal approaches from stallholders in Greenwich, but we have noticed that restaurants in Greenwich appear to benefitting from an upsurge in trade from visitors to the Olympics.

"The Royal Borough of Greenwich is committed to ensuring that our local businesses benefit from the Games.

That is why we have 160 volunteers handing out information to visitors which signpost our shopping areas and help ensure that they enjoy a great day out in Greenwich.

We hope the thousands of visitors in Greenwich seeing our wonderful attractions, who might not otherwise have come, will lead to a boost in visitors and spend for years to come."