DOPING hysteria has reached a crescendo.

Little wonder. A catalogue of recent headlines might feature the forfeiture of gold medals resulting in elevation to European champions those such as Jenny Meadows and Lynsey Sharp; the exposure of former Olympic and World champion Veronica Campbell-Brown as a drug cheat; an epidemic of Russian positive tests; the removal of Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell from the World Championships for doping; speculation over the integrity of multiple world record-breaker Usain Bolt; ditto over Tour de France winner Chris Froome; confirmation that some of the greatest riders in cycling history were cheats; calls for a more proactive stance from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Olympic movement; and even suggestions that long-standing athletics records be expunged because they were set by cheats. Or might have been.

The great and the good including former Olympic champions Sebastian Coe and Michael Johnson are among advocates for change. I cannot recall the doping agenda ever being so wide and varied.

It's quarter of a century since I suggested Scottish athletics should strike out the 400 metres record set in 1975 by David Jenkins, after he admitted to having used steroids during his career. This is less to do with punishment than the belief that his time of 44.93 should not be left to taunt and tempt future generations of Scots.

Yet it celebrated its 38th birthday last month, and I am unrepentant in reiterating that it should be axed. Jenkins, jailed in the US for trafficking steroids worth a reported $100m in 1988, stands condemned by his own testimony.

It is suggested that records set during the 1980s should be written out. East Germany had a state-orchestrated doping programme which delivered many world records, and much of Eastern European sport was rife with drug allegations.

Among the most condemned is the 400m world best set by Marita Koch, who set seven world 400m records in seven years, including the current one (47.60) in 1985. These are among 30 world records indoors and out that she achieved during her career.

Koch has never publicly admitted to steroid use, but documents on her country's doping programme even show the substances and specific dosages. These papers include a letter from Koch to the head of the state-owned pharmaceutical company, complaining that her rival, Barbel Wockel, was receiving bigger dosages of steroids because a relative worked for the company.

I would submit that where clear evidence of doping exists, as with Jenkins and Koch, there is every justification for deleting records.

Indeed, by not doing so, scottishathletics and the world governing body remain complicit in condoning cheating.

Yet in considering rewriting the record books, there are risks. Among the most condemned is the women's 800m mark, 30 years old last Friday. At London's Anniversary Games, arguably the most prestigious Diamond League event of the season, the 800m was won in a meeting record of 1:58.19.

The world best, set by Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983, is 1:53.28. Nobody has come within more than a second of the Czech, and five of the six best times ever date back to the drug-tainted 1980s.

Yet Kratochvilova never tested positive, and at 62 she maintains she is innocent of drug abuse. Circumstantial evidence is compelling but inconclusive.

In 2006, the Prague daily, Mf Dnes, said it had uncovered documents which proved the central committee of the Communist party, and the government, had orchestrated a doping programme, but showed nothing to link Kratochvilova to it, despite her being their brightest star. I saw her win the 400 and 800m titles at the inaugural World Championships in 1983, breaking the world best in the former. That victory interrupted Koch's monopoly of the 400m record from 1978.

No matter how strong suspicions may be, they do not prove Kratochvilova doped. Yes, she was a freakishly robust, even masculine, figure, but that proves nothing. Some of sport's greatest champions have been "freakish".

Consider the stature of rugby's Jonah Lomu (1.95 metres, 235lb), or the German decathlete Jurgen Hingsen (2.00m). Or multiple cycling champion Miguel Indurain (resting pulse of 28, double the average cyclist's cardiac output, with almost 25% greater lung capacity).

The Spaniard was stigmatised because he had some contact with an Italian doctor who pioneered blood-boosting erythropoietin (EPO), but he never failed a drug test.

Fast forward to Froome. Because he rode up the lethal Mont Ventoux faster than any rider in history, critics have been too ready to brand him. He has been witch-hunted by the French media.

The French senate inquiry exposed some 30 EPO cheats – including 1998 Tour winner Marco Pantani, 1997 winner Jan Ulrich, Mario Cipollini, who won 12 stages, Erik Zabel, who won six successive green jerseys, the 1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano, and Australia's Sean O'Grady, the 1998 Tour runner-up and multiple Olympic, World, and Commonwealth champion – all proven to be shams.

In announcing this monstrous regiment of cheats, the commission secretary exonerted this year's winner, Froome, whose Sky team had seen fit to reveal all his physiological data. "Suspicions over Chris Froome's performances in the recent Tour de France are unfounded, not legitimate, and not scientifically justified," said Jean-Jaques Lozach.

So there's the problem. Froome rode up the Ventoux faster than a proven peleton of cheats.

To suggest that only another cheat can beat a cheat's performances is dangerous indeed. James Dasaolu has run faster than convicted doper Dwain Chambers. That does not make him a cheat. Bolt has run faster than notorious Olympic cheat Ben Johnson. That does not make Bolt a cheat. We pray that continues.

I support striking out performances and records of proven cheats, or of those who have admited it. Suspend for life the team leaders, doctors, coaches, physios and soigneurs of those who cheat. And governing body leaders such as Pat McQuaid of the UCI, who has presided (and some would argue been complicit) in the worst era in cycling's history.

Making possession of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs without a prescription a criminal offence makes sense. It should be punishable by a prison sentence.

Cheats can be beaten, but rewriting world records simply on the grounds of suspicion is no better than tying those accused of witchcraft in a sack, and swimming them to prove their guilt.