Belfast Telegraph

Offenders pay back 160,000 hours

By David Young

Offenders in Northern Ireland put in more than 160,000 hours of community service in the last 12 months.

Almost 100,000 hours of that unpaid work were completed in Belfast in 2010/11, according to the Probation Board NI.

Projects included environmental clean-ups and painting and decorating community centres.

Grass cutting and general maintenance across the city was also carried out by offenders ordered to give something back to society.

Christine Hunter, PBNI area manager with responsibility for community service in Belfast, said: "These are just some examples of the good work offenders are completing in Belfast in order to pay back to communities.

"Community Service is an extremely effective tool in preventing people going on to re-offend."

And she urged the public to suggest worthwhile projects that could be delivered through the community service in the future.

Ms Hunter said: "If anyone has an idea for a project that offenders could work on for the benefit of your community, they can nominate a project for offenders to undertake at www.pbni.org.uk or you can email us at community service@pbni.gsi.gov.uk."

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