CRIMINALS are putting their efforts back into the community to help clean up Chard’s town centre.

A group of up to ten workers will be litter picking, undertaking town centre maintenance, graffiti removal and painting as part of a community payback scheme.

Offenders are supervised by a member of staff from the Probation Trust and one of their first tasks in Chard will be to tackle the repainting of the iron railings around St Mary’s Church.

Chard Town Council supports the work and says the aim of the scheme is to help offenders by developing skills, confidence and a good work ethic.

Town clerk Sarah Robson said: “This is going to provide a much-needed top up to the work that our amenities team undertakes on a daily basis and would enhance the quality and level of the service the team can currently supply.

“We are very pleased to be involved with this scheme and hope it will prove to be a benefit to the community.”

Unpaid work has been a sentencing option available to the courts for 40 years and is operated as part of the National Probation Service.

Joy Ellery, community payback team manager for South Somerset, said she was pleased to see groups working within communities.

She added: “I hope the initial pilot scheme carrying out work at St Mary’s Church in Chard will lead onto a very successful partnership with the community payback teams by carrying out a diverse range of tasks within their local communities.”

The work is a partnership arrangement between Chard Town Council and The Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company, which previously operated as Avon and Somerset Probation Trust.