Implied criticism of police not justified

I refer to an anonymous letter headlined "Why do we have to put up with this?" which was published on August 30.

I refer to an anonymous letter headlined "Why do we have to put up with this?" which was published on August 30.

The letter complained of the lack of action by the police when they attended a call to an incident at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea at 2am on August 25.

I was concerned when I read the letter and inquired to discover that no such call was ever received by the police. The implied criticism of the police contained in this letter was clearly not justified.

Northumberland is one of the safest places in the country to live and my officers work hard to ensure that continues to be the case.

Chief Superintendent GRAHAM PEARS, Northumberland Area Command, Northumbria Police, Bedlington

Are Lib Dems really Tories in disguise?

HOW can the Liberal Democrats who control Newcastle City Council stand up and support the privatisation of our roads?

This is a total shift to the right of local politics. They should remember the words of Harold Macmillan to Margaret Thatcher: do not sell off the family silver. The Lib Dems are doing just that. Are they really Tories in disguise?

The city's roads and pavements are in a poor way at the moment, but at least we have the right to appeal direct to our council, rather than some company whose headquarters may not even be in this country.

This is a major U-turn by the Lib Dems who were once the party of local government but now seem to be the friends of big business. How quick they can change after being elected.

The people of Newcastle should protest at this policy.

MICK BRADY, Pendower, Newcastle

I can't believe attitude of retired detective

ICANNOT believe the attitude of the retired police detective featured in your report headlined "I broke law on hunting" (The Journal, September 4).

This man, who I regard as irresponsible, seems to be mocking the law to kill something.

The police also let me break the law. I sent "canna choc" to genuine multiple sclerosis sufferers and am awaiting a crown court trial on December 4 for conspiracy to supply cannabis, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail. I have never intended to mock the law or kill anything. There is something very wrong with our laws.

LEZLEY GIBSON, Alston, Cumbria

Entirely reasonable to look at funding ways

LABOUR'S Newcastle City councillor Nick Forbes continues his campaign of relentless kneejerk political opportunism by questioning the Lib Dem council administration's decision to investigate a PFI deal to fund major improvements to the city's roads and pavements ("£340m bid lodged to repair city roads", The Journal, September 1).

Residents of the city are rightly concerned at the poor state of the city's roads and footpaths after years of under-investment under the previous Labour council, which introduced budget cuts in the highways maintenance service despite an Audit Commission report finding that many roads were in poor condition.

The Lib Dems identified this area as one of our "six to fix" priorities for the council when we took over the council in 2004. Since then, we have already spent an additional £6m on roads, but this sum has only been sufficient to tackle a relatively small part of the backlog of maintenance.

Consequently, it seems entirely reasonable to look at ways in which up to £400m of additional funding can be secured to provide a more comprehensive approach to the problem.

It is legitimate to carefully scrutinise the terms of any proposed deal, and this is exactly what the Lib Dems intend to do. However, Coun Forbes' objections seem entirely hypocritical given that, when Labour controlled the council, they adopted entirely the same PFI approach when it came to investing significant sums in replacing the city's street lighting, not to mention improving schools and libraries.

My view is that most people in the city will welcome investment in road and pavement resurfacing, providing a good value deal can be struck. If Coun Forbes is so agitated about the failure to identify an internal solution to the issue, I invite him and his Labour colleagues to come up with a sensible and costed alternative policy. Unfortunately, I fear he is more keen to jump on bandwagons than mend the roads.

Coun GREG STONE, Liberal Democrat, North Heaton Ward, Newcastle City Council

Financial help for cancer sufferers

HAVE any Journal readers been affected by cancer and are struggling financially? Have they experienced problems paying mortgage or rent bills?

If so, Macmillan Cancer Support would like to hear from them.

Macmillan is looking at how the additional costs of cancer and loss of income affects people's finances and the impact this can have. We specifically would like to hear from anyone who has had housing problems such as difficulties with their rent or mortgage payments following a cancer diagnosis.

If you can help Macmillan in highlighting this important issue, please contact us on (01904) 756407.

Macmillan's Better Deal campaign raises awareness of the financial hardship and help available for people with cancer. For a free guide to benefits and financial help, please contact the campaign line free on 0800 500 800, or visit the website at

ALEX DRINKALL, Macmillan Cancer Support, 3 Fawcett Street, York YO10 4AH


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