Fears are growing that High Wycombe’s court will be inundated with out-of-town lawbreakers, with magistrates expected to take on a bigger share of the workload to punish criminals from across the county.

Last week, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) announced plans to close Aylesbury Magistrates Court, with cases likely to shift to High Wycombe or Milton Keynes.

Speaking out against the move, the national Magistrates’ Association has voiced concerns on the impact it will have on the town, while Labour councillors predict more delays to Wycombe residents.

Magistrates Association national chairman, Malcolm Richardson, said: “Our members have expressed their concerns about the impact of the closure of Aylesbury on High Wycombe and beyond.

“For justice to be administered properly it needs to be as local as possible, that’s the whole point.

“Most court users - defendants, victims and witnesses alike - rely on public transport, so the additional travel time and cost involved poses a serious challenge.

“We hope that HMCTS will work closely with local magistrates to ensure this is dealt with as best it can be.”

Magistrates mostly deal with lower-level crimes, including motoring offences, criminal damage, drunk and disorderly behaviour and occasionally crimes like burglaries.

As part of the move to close Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court, the government announced on Thursday that High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court would face extra work.

Wycombe Labour spokesman, Linda Derrick, said: “The courts are already under strain. “The Tory Government has cut funding for the courts. It has also cut legal aid so more people have to represent themselves. “Unrepresented people need more help from court staff, who have no time, and cases slow down. “Wycombe magistrates faces all of these pressures and now has to take on half the workload of Aylesbury with victims and witnesses having to travel further. More delays.”

The Aylesbury court is one of 86 courts and tribunals across the country which are set to close.

There are also plans to move Aylesbury Crown Court, where most people involved in higher-level court cases go to if they live in Bucks, to the current Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court building.

Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid minister, Shailesh Vara, said: “Court closures are difficult decisions; local communities have strong allegiances to their local courts and I understand their concerns.

“But changes to the estate are vital if we are to modernise a system which everybody accepts is unwieldy, inefficient, slow, expensive to maintain and unduly bureaucratic.”

Only magistrates work will move to High Wycombe, civil cases will now be heard at Milton Keynes County Court.