ONE of the defining aspects of our city is our beautiful waterways.

For the majority of boaters living on the Oxford Canal and the Thames it is a largely relaxed and idyllic lifestyle, away from many of the stresses of land-based residents.

But, as with any community, there is a minority whose disregard for the rights of others and the rules of society ruins it for many.

There are complaints of some boaters not paying for their moorings or overstaying, pitching up where they shouldn’t or dumping litter and human waste.

Susanna Pressel believes Oxford has been seen as an easy touch and on the evidence of the reported problems she may be right.

Oxford City Council has caused some anger by funding stricter enforcement action but it is hard to see what it, British Waterways and the Environment Agency are supposed to do.

Of course it would be wonderful if the authorities could mirror the free-and-easy attitude you associate with life on the river.

But if some members of the boating community want to copy the worst excesses of the travelling community on land, then there is little option but to crack down on them.