Daft decision

WHEN Denis Leadbeater was convicted for tampering with an electricity meter almost 40 years ago, the courts who sentenced him to a probation order must have hoped it would not only serve as a punishment but also give this man in his mid-20s a chance to reform.

They would surely have taken heart from knowing that he would go on to live a law-abiding life and that for almost 10 years in his 50s and 60s volunteer his time as a driver for his local ambulance service ferrying patients to and from hospital.

Yet Mr Leadbeater's conviction back in 1974 and one for burglary, two years earlier, are now being used as a reason to ban him from

performing the service that he loves.

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Nobody should make light of the crimes he committed, nor should any public body ignore their duty to protect those they serve – especially the elderly and vulnerable.

However, East Midlands Ambulance Service's decision that as a 62-year-old he suddenly poses a risk to the public because of crimes he committed in his 20s suggests that in this case common sense is a commodity in short supply.

Surely nobody benefits from this decision, least of all the patients who had become Mr Leadbeater's regular passengers.