Did drug addicts deserve to be on the front cover?

I write in response to your cover piece (August 9) about two Lewesians convicted for theft.

I have no knowledge of the young people concerned or their families and friends. I have no issue with the sentences passed on them – indeed I have no experience or expertise in this field -- but I do query the profile afforded to the case by the Express.

Quite reasonably your paper regularly covers news from the courts, usually on an inside page and occasionally with small accompanying photographs, but I question whether

the theft of garden ornaments and furniture merited your full page, full face “rogues’ gallery” treatment. Was there perhaps, though not mentioned in the article, something else involved to justify this level of coverage? Violence? Wanton damage and destruction? Graffiti? Or was this theft of garden furniture of itself so much more serious than the crimes against the person that occasionally appear in your pages? Can we in future expect similar, fully illustrated, front page name and shame treatment of Lewesians guilty of, say, false accounting, or speeding offences? And what exactly qualifies as a “spree”, to use your terminology? Did it involve more than the two charges of theft and two of “handling” mentioned in the article?

I repeat: I do not take issue with the appropriateness of the sentencing. Nor do I seek to play down the crime, nor the upset caused to the victims of it, but I suspect that the young people involved may not have wilfully set out to become drug addicts and may need support as well as punishment. What your coverage will contribute to these processes is unclear.

Steve Ankers

Lewes