Heartbeat fans around the world can now keep up to date with all of the news from the fictional village of Aidensfield.

Nicholas Rhea, author of the Constable books which inspired the TV series, has gone worldwide with the launch of Letter From Aidensfield, his own web-site.

North York Moors National Park officials fear it could lead to even more tourists descending on Goathland - where the Yorkshire Television series is filmed.

But Ryedale District Council hopes it will provide a positive spin-off for towns and villages in their area.

Nicholas Rhea is actually retired police inspector Peter Walker, of Ampleforth, a columnist for the Evening Press's sister paper the Gazette & Herald.

He says the newly-launched website at www.heartbeat.demon.co.uk is one of the most comprehensive sites on a living author.

The site, developed with the co-operation of Yorkshire TV, gives 'visitors' an insight into the development of the series and characters such as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, Constable Nick Rowan and Sergeant Blaketon.

He said: "The popularity of Heartbeat is growing phenomenally and the series is now seen in many countries around the world.

"We created the website to allow UK and international fans to have access to more information and news of myself and the series."Rhea said fans could pass on their own ideas for developing the website by contacting his e-mail address - webmaster@heartbeat.demon.co.uk.

Mike Pratt, spokesman for the North York Moors National Park, said: "We are already concerned about the level of tourism and the way it affects people living in and around Goathland.

"An influx of visitors is good for local trade, but it has been a problem to varying extents for people living in the village. Something like this website could actually increase that pressure."

Mr Pratt said the park authority was keen to limit publicity about Goathland.

He said: "We want people to come here and value the place for itself, not just for what it seems to be on the TV. I think local people would value that approach as well."

Paul Hayward, Ryedale's head of economic and leisure services, said: "The series obviously creates a great deal of interest nationally and internationally, as evidenced by tours coming in from as far away as Canada."

He said it was inevitable that people should want to go there and added that Ryedale's tourist attractions could benefit from any increase in the number of visitors to Goathland.

"I think it's important to look at the positive aspects of it. You can't put a cordon around the area and say don't go," Mr Hayward concluded.

To keep up with the latest internet news, don't miss the Evening Press's regular internet page on Friday. And you can now keep abreast of your local news on our own website, at www.eveningpress.co.uk

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.