OFFENDERS SPRUCE UP FARINGTON, NEAR LEYLAND
02 Aug 2012
Offenders sentenced to carry out unpaid work by the courts have teamed up with South Ribble Borough Council to help spruce up Farington.
They have spent the past few weeks clearing tonnes of rubbish as well as strimming weeds and grass and generally tidying up a number of private alleyways behind houses in Mill Street and surrounding areas.
The offenders have been kitted out in orange hi-visibility vests displaying the Community Payback logo while they carried out the unpaid work, which was fully supervised by staff from Lancashire Probation Trust.
Groups of offenders have worked in the area up to three times a week and have tidied up a total of eight back alleys in the area. South Ribble Borough Council has removed up to 20 tonnes of waste cleared by the offenders.
Councillor Graham Walton, Chair of South Ribble Borough Council’s Central My Neighbourhood Forum, said: “It’s good to see offenders giving something back to the community by carrying out this worthwhile work. The Central My Neighbourhood Forum has been drawing up improvement plans for the Mill Street area and this work helped to set the ball rolling.
“Local residents told us they would like these alleys tidied up, and the offenders have made a big difference to the area. As part of the Mill Street scheme, we’re planning to organise some community litter picks in the future, to help keep the alleys neat and tidy.”
Colin Bradshaw, Community Payback supervisor for Lancashire Probation Trust, said: “Community Payback gives offenders a routine and some structure, and gets them used to following instructions and working as a team which can help change their behaviour and at the same time pay back a debt to the community in a highly visible way. This is hard work, and we are out in all weather, improving the community for everyone.”
A 77-year-old East Street resident was pleased to see the work underway.
She said: “I think it’s a good idea to get offenders tidying areas like these and giving back to the community after committing crimes. I don’t remember anyone coming to tidy these areas before, and I’ve lived here since I was 12. It is just disgusting that people should throw stuff anywhere out in these alleys.”
Community Payback is a punishment handed down by the courts. It is demanding work carried out by offenders in the community as an alternative to a prison sentence.
Between April 1 and 31 May 2012 offenders have completed 9,220 hours of unpaid work in the Chorley, Preston and Skelmersdale areas. If paid at minimum wage this is the equivalent of almost £56,060.