HUNTING CONVICTION: LAST Friday, Tony Wright, huntsman with the Exmoor Foxhounds, was the first person to be found guilty of contravening the Hunting Act 2004.

He was filmed hunting illegally by members of the League Against Cruel Sports' hunt crime watch team, but this evidence was not considered strong enough to convince the Crown Prosecution Service that a criminal act had taken place.

However, the League took out an expensive private prosecution against the individual concerned. As a result, Mr Wright has a criminal record.

This is only one of many such cases where crime watch teams have supplied evidence to the police and, on each previous occasion, the case has been dismissed through "lack of convincing evidence".

Perhaps the police will now take the evidence of illegal hunting provided by the League more seriously and start to press charges themselves rather than relying upon private prosecutions by organisations or individuals.

Our hunt crime watch programme stretches throughout England and Wales and any hunt at any time could be targeted. If evidence of illegal activities is captured on film we will only be too pleased to offer them the same service we provided for Mr Wright. - Eric Beechey, Yorkshire Representative, League Against Cruel Sports, Kellington, Goole.


REGARDING the letter which referred to TV's Emmerdale when the character Sam gave drugs to help his wife to die (HAS, Aug 8).

That was a soap opera so was nothing like how a cancer victim would cope. I speak from experience, so how do I feel about the right to die? I am fighting to live and when my time comes I hope the hospice will look after me (and I know they will).

My life for nearly six years has had plenty of pain, but caring doctors have got me through it, as well as visits to the hospice.

Just one phone call would bring a nurse to treat my stomach pain or stay and comfort me, during the night especially.

At Christmas 1999, doctors at Darlington Memorial Hospital took nearly all of my stomach and the cancer away and here I am in 2006, in remission.

It has left me with other problems, but I owe my life to the doctors and nurses. Life is a gift so I would definitely not want anyone to help me end it.

I know it's a tough road as I have lost my parents with the dreaded C and two brothers, but I have lived 20 years with breast cancer. Thank God for the carers and friends who help us to live. - Mrs Elsie Morton, Darlington.


THE letter headed Neglecting the Bible (HAS, Aug 4) contains a point of view that begs the question: what use has a book that has much to do with Jewish folklore, history and the writings of several authors where opinions are questionable?

An individual does not need the writings of storytellers and those who profess to have visions from God to understand that life has a purpose and that it is up to each individual to behave in such a manner that is termed civilised behaviour.

Civilisation survives as long as it controls its citizens in such a manner. Once that order breaks down, civilisation descends into decay and collapse. Western civilisation is in decline because its leaders have become weak and corrupt and are ignoring the threat, in particular, from the East.

Like it or not, there is a price to pay for freedom and it does not come from turning the other cheek or allowing the country to be turned into a haven for those who will one day attempt to destroy us.

As for those in authority, their first and only priority should be the wellbeing of the nation as a whole and not to those who believe they have a divine right to be kept at any cost. - John Young, Crook.


RE Christopher Wardell's letter about Third World poverty lessons in schools (HAS, July 27). He may well find that if a refugee is invited into a classroom, the children could end up having a lesson on Christian culture, or indeed British history, but not necessarily from the point of view he had in mind.

Contrary to popular belief, many asylum seekers are Christian, particularly those of African background. I have also come across a lot of asylum seekers (of all faiths) who were teachers in their own countries, so I'm sure some of them would be more than competent to give a lesson on British history.

Whether they choose to mention their 15 children is another matter. Given that, percentage-wise, there are more asylum seekers with degrees than among the British population, I suspect many of them have been too busy working on their education to have time to produce that many children.

Maybe Mr Wardell would like to give us an example, without breaching confidentiality, of a family he knows of with 15 children. - Pauline Cassim, address supplied.

PETER Sagar stated he may have a higher opinion of British people than myself (HAS, Aug 8). No way. As soon as I read that he was a teacher and the school that he once taught in held a human rights day, I knew immediately what was coming.

He claimed that the British Empire was to blame for the destruction of political systems in foreign lands and that we now have every right to educate our youngsters on topics such as poverty in the Third World.

I totally disagree with him. Most countries like Rwanda have only themselves to blame for the mess that they are in, due to corrupt governments spending the aid we give them.

Maybe the next time Mr Sagar is involved in a human rights day at a school he should invite a British pensioner who struggles to make ends meet, as it is their needs that should be highlighted in our classrooms instead of our youngsters having to listen to the sorrowful outbursts of a refugee from the other side of the world. - Christopher Wardell, Darlington.


AS a reader and contributor to HAS, I would like to follow up an issue raised by Peter Barron in his From the Editor's Chair column (Echo, Aug 7) regarding the authenticity of letters from Councillor Joan McTigue (Independent) and J Young. Indeed, I agree with Mr Barron that receiving identical copies of the same letter from J Young and Coun McTigue is very strange.

Also, has Mr Barron received any response as of yet from Coun McTigue or J Young on this issue?

To Coun McTigue and J Young, do you both prepare such letters together? I hope J Young or Coun McTigue will respond to these queries as it is in the interests of all those who read these letter pages. - Tom Blenkinsop, Marton, Middlesbrough.


I WONDER what gain is being made when you cannot pay your TV licence at post offices, and instead have to use shops or stores with PayPoint facilities. Is it to make it harder for the small post offices to survive? - N Tate, Darlington.