I WAS amazed at the article in the Chronicle, May 15, regarding unlawful building works to residential properties.

Mr Punn was complaining people were being treated like common criminals - well, common they may not be but criminals they are - in my opinion.

A line has to be drawn in anything we do in life. A small porch on one house leads to a bungalow in the garden of another and on to illegal multiple-occupancy homes, in my experience.

I would like to know when and where the meeting referred to in the article was held and how representative it was of the residents of Hounslow as a whole.

I suspect it was a small group of like-minded chancers who have done work to their homes hoping to get away with not going through the legal process - for what reasons I can only speculate.

It is documented that under the previous Labour administration there were many questionable decisions regarding planning, hence the retrospective rulings.

Anyone living in Hounslow can see the obvious two fingers up attitude to planning rules that have gone on in the past and still do today. And as far as Mr Punn's comment that it is time to take a stand and unite, especially for those who are not aware of the system and have a language barrier, I am wondering if this is another example of the race card being used inappropriately.

One bit of information I can pass on to Mr Punn and anyone else who may not be aware is that in this country ignorance of the law is no excuse. And I would question the other defence of problems with language because how did these lawbreakers manage to negotiate the purchase of a property in the first place with such a handicap?

Mr Punn and his associates should turn their dissatisfaction to the people who abuse the planning rules and profiteer from it illegally, by doing so they have made this council determined to deal with all contraventions of planning law.

In my view it is a shame that local authorities cannot keep the money from fines to run public awareness campaigns and employ more staff to tackle this problem that appears to be growing almost to epidemic proportions in some areas.

IAN WESTOLL Belgrave Road, Hounslow.