Buckinghamshire County Council and a youth offending team have partnered up to send young offenders who have been involved in vandalism onto the streets to clear graffiti.
The work is done as part of the youngsters time with the youth offending team, which children are referred to after being convicted in court.
Under the project, youngsters are sent out with non-toxic cleaning kits and work in small teams under close supervision.
Michael Box, a technician with Buckinghamshire County Council, came up with the idea for the project.
He said: ‘We have virtually no budget for graffiti cleaning bridges and subways, and seeing these public places covered in tags does upset members of the public.’
‘I was trying to work out how to overcome this when I had a chance conversation with a friend, who works with the young offending service in another part of the country, who spoke about having difficulty finding schemes to get the youngsters involved in.’
‘It just seemed obvious; you could solve both problems by putting them together.’
The scheme has been hailed as “exceptional” and has earnt Mr Box some personal success after he won the county council’s Innovation Achieving Top Performance award earlier in the year.
Buckinghamshire Youth Offending Service manager said: ‘Community reparation work is a fundamental tool in making sure young people who offend understand there are consequences for their behaviour, and preventing them from re offending.’