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Smuggling across the south of England in the late 18th century was rife. In the village of Aldfriston the leader of the Aldfriston Raiders realised that he had lost control of his men and so engineered a fight with George Styles, who appeared to be taking over. What he had underestimated was this man’s strength and after a long battle in the village square he came out the looser and was effectively banished from the village.The job of stopping the smuggling was down to The Comptroller who was based in Newhaven and his team of Customs Riding Officers.The local Customs Riding Officer for the Aldfriston area was Graham Johnson who was in the process of teaching young Mark Downer the work of a riding officer. Graham lodged in Seaford but Mark lodged at the Comptrollers house on the other side of the river in Newhaven.As well as the Riding Officers the government had stationed Dragoons in South Bourn and they sent out patrols across the countryside to intercept the movement of contraband.It was with the bringing together 2 dragoon patrols that Graham was able to capture a very large consignment of contraband and move it to the Customs House in Newhaven.During the capture of the contraband the dragoons were able to use their training to stop reinforcements arriving to prevent the goods being moved. A young man of the village was killed and his mother asked the priest if he could have a ‘virgins wreath’ at his funeral. This was a tradition within the village for those who died young and this was granted.Mark had not been in on this and had been sent back to his lodgings by Graham and it was this that was to bring about Marks undoing. When he arrived at the Ferryman’s barn where he stabled his horse Barbara, the ferryman’s daughter, came up to him and before he knew it he was laying on the straw with a naked Barbara on top of him. This was his first time. What made it worse was that Barbara told The Comptroller’s cook about her jaunt with Mark in her fathers barn and she told Mrs Williams.George Styles was angry at losing his cargo and decided to retake it by raiding the Customs House, even though it would be guarded by Jack and Mark. But Mark was not there, he was being seduced by Mrs Williams, the Comptroller’s wife, while her husband was away in London, reporting his success in capturing such a large consignment of contraband.George was successful in getting his cargo back but in so doing killed Jack and this was his undoing for shortly afterwards he was arrested by one of the Dragoon patrols, shipped of to the Old Bailey and tried for killing one of King George’s Customs Officers.Mark was now in trouble as he should have been with Jack. Mark would not say where he was instead of being on guard in the Customs House. Mark fled only to fall into the clutches of another woman.Despite searching the county Graham could not find Mark to tell him that he could clear his name.What happens to Mark Downer will be told in the authors book ‘A Virgin no More’Holds a 5 star rating on Amazon.com