25 years ago this week: Friday, September 5, 1986

SPARKS have started to fly in Northumberland’s “Coal War” since it took a sinister turn this week.

Photocopies of press cuttings, alleging that one coal merchant has been involved in a Fraud Squad investigation, have been posted to some of his customers.

The information has been sent, in envelopes bearing an Alnwick postmark, to customers of the Embleton and Lynemouth based firm of Charles Thompson Ltd.

The Gazette is aware of many letters being sent out and has come into possession of one of them, received by a Boulmer family, who are customers of Thompson’s.

The couple are angry that such material, and the implications associated with it, should have come through their letter box.

And Charles Thompson Ltd., which has always claimed that allegations made against them are unfounded, has evidence of other customers receiving similar letters.

As a result they have been consulting with their solicitors and attempting to trace the culprit.

A spokesman for the firm told the Gazette this week: “We have our own ideas who is responsible but we cannot say anything until we can prove it.”