I HAVE just returned from a wonderful 12-day coach tour of Scotland.

At the magnificent Stone Palace they used to have 12 peacocks walking the grounds which were greatly admired by the visiting families.

Sadly, these now number only six due to the activities of the old wily fox, which is officially classified as a pest.

The peacocks do breed but the young ones are all gobbled up by the fox, which considers them a real delicacy.

Foxes are causing immense losses to all ground-nesting birds and as a matter of priority steps must be taken to ensure their numbers are properly controlled.

Changing the subject, I was listening to The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2, about problems caused by wildlife, from bees to bats, with experts on hand to advise on people's rights.

Some of the examples were more akin to science fiction stories and one of the worse concerned bats.

Bats are quite rightly a protected species and because of this the following quite unacceptable position arose.

A family's residence became inhabited by 5,000 bats - the number was calculated by experts - which took over the premises.

The wife suffered a nervous breakdown and the husband was forced to leave when these bats started to dive-bomb him.

Eventually the building will collapse as a result of the weight of daily bat droppings.

The bats could have been so easily driven away by the use of lights but this was not feasible since they are a protected species. There were many equally scary stories.

It is in instances such as this where the law becomes an ass.

There should be provisions for it to be relaxed in exceptional circumstances. After all with 5,000 bats present in just one residence there obviously is not even the slightest chance of them becoming extinct in the area.

Douglas Walters, Halfway Street, Sidcup