Candid Caller

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THIS WEEK, five-year prison sentences against two Norfolk vigilantes were reduced, on appeal, to six months. They had been found guilty of over-zealously kidnapping a suspected vandal and mini-motorcycle thief.

Sporting a black beret and wearing a bright T-shirt over suit, shirt and tie, the Candid Caller asked: Are vigilantes a good thing? And what do you think of Norfolk's notorious duo?

Mary Vigilant of Norwood, south London: 'The only vigilantes I've seen were Guardian Angels on the London Underground. Far from putting me at my ease they put the fear of God in me - they looked a right bunch of thugs. It's all an American idea which should never have been imported here. I feel absolutely nothing for the two men from Norfolk.'

Arthur Law of Hull: 'I think they're a great idea. Youths are causing most of the trouble on our streets, so it's a good thing that some of them are trying to keep an eye on the others. But I have mixed feelings about the Norfolk two; they can't be allowed to go around kidnapping people when they want to. They should have handed the matter over to the police at once.'

Margaret Order of Manchester: 'It's an ego-thing isn't it? I'm not happy at the thought of amateurs playing at being the police. Far from having their sentences reduced, I think the two blokes from Norfolk should have had them increased - to teach them and all the others a really lasting lesson.'

Mark Sheriff of Blackpool: I think of vigilantes as a natural extension to the Good Neighbour scheme. Having people looking out for break-ins can only be to the good of the community. The two vigilantes in the news should have been released, they were only trying to help others.'

Christine Mobbs of Liverpool: 'I don't believe in people taking the law into their own hands and wouldn't want to see an increase in vigilante groups on our streets. The Norfolk men deserved to have their sentences reduced, though.'

Francis Villain of Birmingham: 'In principle I'm in favour of vigilantes, but they've got to be carefully controlled, though I don't know who by. I was pleased the men in Norfolk have had their sentences reduced, because five years was too long.'

Charles Warr of Bristol: 'I don't think vigilantes work, they cut across what the police are trying to do. We're assuming that all vigilantes are good - what will happen when a few bad apples start turning up? I'd hate to see vigilantes start arming themselves. The men in Norfolk had no right to do what they did, but five years was too harsh.'

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