Somerset

Somerset offenders help to clean up railway bridge

Left to right: Community Payback worker; Pc Gary Pethick; supervisor Peter Ernest; councillor John Williams
Image caption Staplegrove bridge was last washed and scrubbed of algae and dirt four years ago.

A group of offenders have cleaned up a Somerset railway bridge as part of a Community Payback scheme.

Staplegrove bridge, in Taunton, was last washed and scrubbed of algae and dirt four years ago.

Council leader, councillor John Williams said the team had provided "excellent and useful" work.

"Because one side of the bridge is constantly in the shade, green algae grow with an accumulation of road grime," he said.

Dirty eyesore

"Not only is this an eyesore on a main route into town, pedestrians also risk getting their clothes dirty if they brush against it."

More than 90,000 hours of Community Payback is carried out by offenders in the Avon and Somerset police force area each year.

If paid at the national minimum wage, this work would be valued at £515,700 and otherwise might not be done, the council said.

Offenders, who can receive up to 300 hours of community service, are screened to assess the risk they may pose to the public.

During the work, offenders have to wear high-visibility jackets to make sure the public is aware of the work they are doing.

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