A group of offenders are cleaning up their act – by helping to tidy up a housing estate in Caernarfon.
Their efforts were praised by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick QC CB who met them during a visit to the Ysgubor Goch estate on the outskirts of the town.
As part of their probation, the offenders have been ordered by local magistrates to provide their labour free of charge working on projects that benefit the community.
All the projects are carried out under the supervision of the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company.
At Ysgubor Goch, the team carry out regular litter picks, trim the borders and are also helping to maintain the Glan Peris football field which is undergoing a major restoration project.
Mr Roddick, a former judge, said: “I’ve got first-hand experience of making orders of that kind where the offender, rather than go to prison, has to perform community service.
“I’ve been a great believer in community service because it’s better at reforming offenders than prisons are.
“I was very pleased to have met them today and talk to them and try to see the enthusiasm and the care with which they were carrying out the work.
“Some people tend to think that if you give a convicted person a job to do in the community for nothing, their hearts aren’t in it, they don’t do it well.
“I saw how they were being supervised today and the trust and confidence the supervisor had in them and I saw the quality of their work and their politeness and their enthusiasm for the work. It reinforces my faith in that system.
“If the community could see these people doing the work on their behalf and if they were to stop and talk to them, I think they’d find it’s giving these people a chance that’s worthwhile giving.”
It was a sentiment echoed by unpaid work supervisor Emlyn Parry.
He explained: “We’re getting stuck in to the weeding and litter picking and the jobs that get missed, not just here but at various other locations such as cemeteries.
“They’re paying their dues back to society and picking up vital skills in bringing them back to hopefully and eventually, paid work.
“We run several training courses in painting and decorating, strimming, maintenance and machinery.
“It’s a punishment as we know but we also try to rehabilitate and move things on so that they can hopefully gain paid work out of the experience that they get.
“The community see that they’re paying back as well. We’re very visible because we’ve got our high vis jackets on and when we leave this site today, it’ll be in a 100% better condition than when we came here.”
Team member Glyn, 23, said: “I think unpaid work is a good idea. I don’t think this work would have been done if it wasn’t for us so I’m very glad we’ve had the opportunity.”