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Prisoners keep the wheels turning

PUBLISHED: 16:30 19 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

BICYCLES dumped at household waste sites are being given a new lease of life by prisoners before being used by disadvantaged children and adults.

Cycles left at waste sites in Ipswich, Stowmarket and Hadleigh are taken to Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, where young criminals aged between 15 and 17 strip, repair and rebuild them bicycles before they are given to the Ormiston Trust.

BICYCLES dumped at household waste sites are being given a new lease of life by prisoners before being used by disadvantaged children and adults.

Cycles left at waste sites in Ipswich, Stowmarket and Hadleigh are taken to Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, where young criminals aged between 15 and 17 strip, repair and rebuild them bicycles before they are given to the Ormiston Trust.

It then selects needy organisations and people both in Britain and foreign countries to receive the bicycles.

The scheme has been tried at other jailes in the country and now Hollesley Bay Prison has officially opened a bicycle repair workshop in the Warren Hill high-security section.

Working in the workshop is a prestigious position for the inmates, who have to apply and be interviewed before they can have a job. It is hoped the skills learned in the workshop will benefit them when they are released.

Suffolk County Council household waste services officer, Mark Deer, said: "Bicycles seem to be a throwaway commodity now. People get them for Christmas, for example, and then they just get rid of the old one at the site.

"We have supplied a stockpile of 500 bicycles to Hollesley to get them started and we have supplied Chelmsford, Wayland and Norwich prisons."

The Inside Out Trust, a charity aiming to give opportunities to inmates to stop them reoffending, has been working with Hollesley Bay Prison to start the scheme.

Restorative projects co-ordinator Trish Bucher said: "This project teaches them new skills, aids them with reintegration back into society and helps them with employment. It is a form of light engineering and young offenders can get to grips with that."

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