OVERGROWN and unsightly ground has been transformed as part of a project aimed at cutting crime and helping communities.

Offenders on community payback orders carried out the work.

The system is administered by Inverclyde Council’s criminal justice social work service.

They sent a team to Wemyss Bay after village residents complained about the condition of land opposite their Broom Road homes, saying it had become a ‘dumping ground and dog walk’.

Managers at the council’s unpaid work service section met residents, and arranged for work to be carried out by people who had received payback orders instead of fines or short jail terms.

Residents on the street say they are delighted with the work that has been completed.

One of them, Netta McMaster, told the Tele that all the families in Broom Road take pride in their homes and gardens but as they have become older and less able, maintenance of the land became too much for them.

Netta said: “We had already invested a significant amount of money in clearing the trees that were damaged by a storm a few years ago.

“Since then the land had become a dumping ground and was spiralling out of control.

“The piece of land looks so tidy now it could be a bowling green.

“We cannot thank the team enough.”

Unpaid work is one requirement a sheriff can specify as part of an order which has benefits to both the local community and the offender.

It doesn’t replace paid employment, but is work which would not ordinarily be carried out by the council.

Councillor Robert Moran says the Wemyss Bay project is exactly the kind of scheme for which community payback orders are intended.

He said: “It is a great example of offenders making a positive contribution to their community while putting new skills into practice.”