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Right Arrow Law-breakers help keep hospital tidy
09 December 2010 at 13:52
Petty criminals are helping keep the grounds of Southport and Formby District General Hospital tidy.

The offenders have each been sentenced to a Community Order by magistrates and put to work for between 40 and 300 hours doing hard, manual labour. They have typically been convicted of offences such as shoplifting, benefit fraud, drink-driving and minor assault.

The work includes grass cutting, gritting isolated streets in the cold weather or, as at the hospital, environmental improvements such as litter-picking. Projects across Merseyside regularly save communities more than £1.5m annually in unpaid labour.

A team of offenders has been working in the hospital grounds weekly with a supervisor since July.

The scheme is managed by the Sefton Community Payback Unit of Merseyside Probation Trust. Each of the offenders is risked assessed before being allowed on the programme.

Sir Ron Watson CBE, the chair of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust which manages the hospital, said: "I believe this is the first time a hospital trust in our area has used the Community Payback scheme in this way. The environmental improvement it has made should be welcomed.

"The Trust is very pleased to be playing its part in helping rehabilitate offenders. It also another example of the importance we place on community involvement."

John Lavin, operations manager of Sefton Community Payback Unit, added: "We're delighted to be working at Southport hospital. It is a great place to show Community Payback in action and demonstrate how offenders are punished in the community."

For more information about Community Payback, go to the Merseyside Probation Trust website at:

Issued by Tony Ellis, marketing and communications manager
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust
Telephone 01704 704494