Serious side!

SIR - You have really put Sidmouth on the map with your story of sex in handcuffs in the Byes (March 23). It made the national press. Radio Devon telephoned me for my views. I told them I thought it was an early April fool hoax.

There were the usual comments: “Oh, disgusting, with children about; all that fuss and expense for nothing; the police should have better things to do; why didn’t they send in a police dog instead; and why didn’t they arrest the women as well as the men?”

That got my attention!

I said that it was time for a little logic. If the helicopter costs �1,600 per hour then it should really only be used when the crimes are sufficiently serious. If the suspected criminal activity would attract only a �60 fine and there was no risk to life, why bother?

The vast majority of low level and underage sex crimes are never prosecuted anyway. We only have 90,000 spaces in UK jails and 89,000 are already taken. If you locked up and rehabilitated all parents who were serious alcoholics and/or drug addicts (and for their own good) you’d need maybe 900,000 places. The whole criminal justice system is an expensive farce. If the police couldn’t catch the fleeing suspects on foot, maybe they are not as fit as they ought to be?

It really is a fuss about very little – there is, nowadays, so much video ‘porn’ available via mobile phones and the internet that children are immersed in graphic sex from an early age. A few isolated incidents in the Byes hardly rate a fig leaf let alone a helicopter. It is a knee-jerk reaction to bleat about ‘outraging public decency’ in these cases. I’m far more offended by all the plastic litter on the beach. That will continue to present a hazard in the oceans for hundreds of years.

As for sex in the bushes, I already have a pair of chaffinches nesting in my wonderfully wild and natural garden.

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Later in the week, I was walking up Peak Hill with a friend and we sat for a while admiring the view. A man with a dog was busy with a large plastic bag and a shovel. As we watched, he continued to fill the bag. We at first assumed he was worthy of Citizen of the Year award.

However, he was collecting all the freshly dug earth from molehills, presumably for his bedding plants.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mobile phone with me. I would have called in a police helicopter gunship at �1600 per hour.

Dr S J Wozniak

1 Packhorse Close, Sidford