FORTY-year-old John Gray who had to be rescued by fire crews when he got stuck on the way down from climbing Darwen's famous 300ft India Mill chimney after a drunken bet was branded a stupid fool by a police chief.

Quite right, he was.

But he was also a lucky beggar as well -- and not just for not getting himself killed.

For after a dangerous escapade worthy only of a daredevil kid with a mental age of a quarter of his, what was the punishment this boozed-up idiot earned? Nowt but a ticking off.

He was warned about his conduct by police and released without charge. Well, he may be more a fool than a felon, but isn't the law letting him off far too lightly -- even though he claimed the stunt was for charity?

After all, his ridiculous antics tied up the police and fire service for what was described as a considerable period of time. In short, he endangered not only his own life but those of others who might have been in real need of the emergency services while they were dealing with him.

And if the considerate coppers feel that such stupid and foolhardy behaviour only merits a caution -- when no such leeway is allowed to sober and capable drivers doing a rash 35 mph past a speed camera -- should not justice at least have been served by this fool being presented with the bill for having the emergency services come to his assistance?