A GROUP of offenders have been described as “a blessing” for helping destroy a drugs den next to a primary school and a church.
The grounds surrounding St Anne’s Catholic Church and the adjacent primary school, in Caia Park, Wrexham, had become overgrown.
As a result, the area was strewn with needles and syringes because the trees and undergrowth provided a perfect hiding place for drug addicts.
Now, a team of offenders repaying their debt to society has come to the rescue.
Under the supervision of North Wales Probation Area they have launched a major clear-up operation.
They’re providing their labour free of charge because they’ve been sentenced by magistrates to do work of benefit to the community.
Their help has come as a huge relief to members of the church because the upkeep of the grounds had become too much for them.
John Croft, 70, is a lifelong member of St Anne’s Church.
He said: “We cut some of it down ourselves and found lots and lots of needles. But the work got too much for us to be honest.
“It was worrying because it was very close to the school – it doesn’t bear thinking about really. Having the help of the team has been brilliant. We couldn’t have done it without them.
“They are giving something back and we have noticed a big change. It’s turned something that was a negative into a positive. God works in mysterious ways.”
Team member Paul, 19, said doing Community Payback had been a positive experience.
He said: “This is a better idea than sending people to jail. It makes you feel as if you’re doing something worthwhile.
Community service supervisor Mike Clapham said: “It’s an opportunity for the Community Payback team to learn new skills and get involved in their own community.
“Some of them live on the estate and we’re hoping they will learn some important lessons about respect and pride in their community.”
Anyone who would like offenders to carry out work in their area should contact the community service area manager on 01492 530600 or write to North Wales Probation Area, Alexandra House, Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay LL29 9YF.