Payback: Criminals clearing up Hull footpaths
CRIMINALS are clearing up footpaths across the city.
Offenders are cutting back overgrown hedges and resurfacing paths along the Trans Pennine Trail and the River Hull.
It is part of a new project called Greener Neighbourhoods Hull, which uses unemployed criminals who have been sentenced to more than 200 hours of unpaid work to improve the environment.
Simon Merritt, manager of Greener Neighbourhoods, said: "We want to provide tough, demanding and meaningful community work and improve the environment.
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"We work on projects that have a start and end point to provide the offenders with job satisfaction when they see what they have achieved.
"It can be an introduction to the value of hard work and we hope to give them some of the skills they need to be able to find work."
Offenders have already resurfaced footpaths along the River Hull, near Clough Road.
They are currently working on clearing overgrowth and repairing fences on the Trans Pennine Way, near Hessle.
Mr Merritt said: "It is going really well so far. All of the offenders are really enjoying it and they all get involved in some way.
"The project really works because it makes them feel part of the community. Much of the work needs doing, and is recommended to us by the city council, but they can't do it because of a lack of funds or other reasons.
"That means we can work to improve areas that wouldn't have been worked on otherwise."
The project is currently being delivered by Hull Citysafe and Humberside Probation Trust, but it is in the process of becoming a registered charity.
Mr Merritt said: "That will mean we can apply for funds to provide more training to improve their skills and increase the likelihood of them getting a job and potentially end the cycle of reoffending."
The offenders involved in the project have all been given court orders that include at least 200 hours of unpaid work.
Typically, they work for seven hours a day, three days a week. While working, offenders wear orange vests featuring the words Community Payback.
About 100 offenders have been part of the project so far.
Kate Munson, director of probation at Humberside Probation Trust, said: "The Greener Neighbourhoods project provides challenging training and work experiences, which also benefit the community and enables offenders to make reparation for their crimes.
"The project is contributing to reducing reoffending and preventing further victims of crime within Hull."