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Armed police deployed to deal with lamping - 'fantastic' or 'a waste of money'?

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Deploying armed police deployed to deal with a spike in farm damage due to a suspected increase in lamping has sparked a lively debate online.

We reported this morning how Northumbria Police is sending out armed officers to patrol the countryside around Whitburn in response to complaints of land and crops being damaged in the area, with lamping believed to be behind the problem.

Police believe the damage is being caused by those taking part in lamping - the night-time shooting of animals with the aid of strong spotlights - and hunting.

But not everyone is convinced it's the best idea, and opinion is split among those commenting on our Facebook pages.

Darren Smith said: " Armed police protecting farms and fields of people lamping is a waste of taxpayers money. Get on the streets and protect us from the real problems: terrorists etc etc."

A number of other readers argued against him, claiming there was a limited terror threat in South Shields.

Pete Davies pointed out those the police were looking for would be armed.

"I think if I was a police officer tasked with investigating crimes that involved people hunting with guns, I'd like the reassurance of armed officers too," he said.

"I think some people need to use some common sense."

Some were emphatically in praise of the police action.

Rose Mcilhone said: "Well done guys keep up the good work, catch the idiots responsible."

Kerry Johnson said: "Fantastic!"

Peter Watt was concerned about who police may encounter and what may ensue.

"(It may) be kids running around with 2.2 air rifles and over kill one night police will see the kids with 2.2 air pistol think it's a 9mm hand gun."

Eddy Hackett was another commentor who branded the deployment a "waste of resources and money".