Stolen or recovered bicycles will be repaired by young offenders in Northampton and then sold to raise money for charity in an innovative scheme aimed at reducing crime.
The project, known as Cycl-opps, will run from the Goodwill Solutions warehouse in Moulton Park, and will give young offenders the chance to learn basic bike repair techniques in the hope their new skills will help them secure work and turn away from crime.
The project has been created by Northamptonshire Police in partnership with Goodwill Solutions, Growing Together and the Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service.
The bicycles used in the project have all been either recovered or seized by Northamptonshire Police repaired and, once repaired, they will be either donated to worthy causes or sold at a reduced cost.
It is hoped the project will eventually become self-funding through the sale of the bikes which are restored by the young offenders.
PC Richard Bathe who works with the youth offending service said: “All of these bikes were just wasting away in the back yards of various police stations until we got them.
“Officers had made all the possible enquiries to find their owners, but they couldn’t be identified, so they would have just been disposed of.
“But now, we’ll use them to teach our students how to fix them up.
“This gives them a route out of offending because it gives them a skill or an interest which might lead to a job.”
Sergeant Dina Sunderland who helped set up the projects, said police had been trying to get this project off the ground for two years now.
She said: “The breakthrough came when we were donated the workshop by Goodwill Solutions. Then we’ve got funding from the Growing Together fund and the Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service and several local companies have supported the project with training, tools and by giving us their advice and expertise.
“We’ve got high hopes for this being a successful project and eventually, we’d like to replicate it in Corby and Wellingborough and open a shop where we can sell the bikes, perhaps in the run-up to Christmas.”