Our garden backs onto Yewbarrow Wood, which covers 60 acres. Red squirrels used to live there; the previous owner of our house was so proud of the fact that there is a picture of a red squirrel on the entrance sign to the house. Alas, that sign is the only trace of red squirrels here now as they have long since been replaced by the greys. Does it matter? I think so, and not just because the reds are better to look at; they are indigenous, they belong here. But the greys have prevailed because they infect the reds with the squirrel pox virus, to which the greys are immune. Although the reds have been lost here, there are still populations in the North of England, which are being fiercely protected. At Morpeth, in Northumberland, a retired military policeman, Norris Athey, has legally trapped and shot hundreds of greys in his battle to protect the local population of reds. After reading about the unjust prosecution of Raymond Elliott by the RSPCA (see 3rd August) for drowning a squirrel, Mr Athey publicly challenged the charity by announcing that he had drowned one too. Whereupon the RSPCA had him arrested too and he was held in the cells for 9 hours pending questioning. This is outrageous action, for which the officials of the RSPCA should be thoroughly ashamed.