CRIMINALS sentenced to Community Payback schemes will have fitted 400 locks to wheelie bins across Sheffield by the end of the year in a scheme aimed at reducing arson attacks.
They have been fitting locks onto wheelie bins in Longley as part of a trial by Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service designed to cut the number of fires deliberately started in the city.
South Yorkshire Fire Service has spent more than £87 million over the last five years tackling 32,000 arson attacks. About half were rubbish or wheelie bin fires.
Sheffield MP David Blunkett met some of those involved in the trial to find out about the impact it is having.
Avril Montgomery, of South Yorkshire Probation Trust, said: “By using the Community Payback scheme it has saved the project approximately £10,000 in labour costs.
“It has also provided the offenders taking part an opportunity to gain an understanding of the damage, cost and nuisance caused by such incidents. We have been working on this particular project since February with 49 offenders.
“The rate of their work has been faster than expected meaning that we will secure locks to the wheelie bins of 400 households.”
Alastair Black, of Sheffield Council, said: “The problem of wheelie bin fires is not isolated to Sheffield so I know that other councils are watching the trial carefully.”
Visit www.syprobation.gov.uk to suggest other possible schemes for Community Payback offenders.