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Payback time

PUBLISHED: 12:57 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:37 23 August 2010

HELPING HAND: Three of the payback team working with PC Geordie Laidlow.

HELPING HAND: Three of the payback team working with PC Geordie Laidlow.

CRIMINALS have been repaying their debt to society at a series of community projects across north Kent. Offenders given community orders were put into task forces and given jobs such like litter picking at Swanscombe Heritage Park and cleaning an alleywa

IN THE THICK OF IT: A volunteer.

CRIMINALS have been repaying their debt to society at a series of community projects across north Kent.

Offenders given community orders were put into task forces and given jobs such like litter picking at Swanscombe Heritage Park and cleaning an alleyway in Gravesend.

Chief Inspector Peter Dale, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing, said: "This has been another week of concerted partnership activity which contributes to ensuring North Kent is as safe as possible. We are committed to engaging with our public and dealing with local priorities."

Dartford fire station manager Phil Rice said: "We welcome community partnership events like this as it gives us an opportunity to tackle the issues which matter to local residents such as deliberate fire-setting and fly-tipping.

"We can't be in two places at once, so if we're tackling a rubbish fire then we might not be able to get to that house fire or car crash."

The initiatives throughout the campaign were planned as a result of priorities set by residents at Partner and Community Together (PACT) meetings and from information given to neighbourhood officers and Dartford and Gravesham community safety units.

Michelle Boulden, a spokesman for Kent Probation noted that offenders on Community Payback carry out 275,000 hours of work annually, which on minimum wage would cost around £1.5 million to local communities.

The five-day multi-agency operation also saw traffic police targeting drivers who were not wearing seatbelts in Denton and Pelham, in Gravesend, and Temple Hill, Dartford. Officers also enforced littering laws.

Another 1.6 tonnes of rubbish was removed from Leonard Avenue, Swanscombe, 35 door to door crime surveys were conducted in Gravesham and another 13 written warnings were issued for littering.

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