I HAVE absolutely no sympathy for those who walked their dogs in Friday Woods and left excrement for soldiers on training exercises to dive in; unpleasant and unhealthy.

I acknowledge Friday Woods may only retain its wonderful aspect because it is a training area and has been protected from farming and developers.

However, it would seem the manner in which the community has been excluded from readily accessing the area, after many decades of untrammelled use, appears heavy-handed and an extreme reaction to what are, after all, minor misdemeanours by the thoughtless few.

Policing the area, in the past, was conducted efficiently and effectively by the Ministry of Defence Police, constables in their own right, until the MoD's decision to remove them from Colchester.

It does not seem fair that Colchester should be "punished" for this decision.

Equally, perhaps, Ms Fitzgerald (Relations Ruined, Standard February 1) is wrong to suggest soldiers and military families should be excluded from the town centre for any reason; it is not their fault.

It would seem appropriate for the Brigade, the Garrison, and the Army Training Estate to revisit their decision and, perhaps, the councillors might consider voicing the concerns of their community.

Col A B Barton

Ex Commander Colchester Garrison