Residents are being forced to fork out £1,000 to paint a wall after health and safety officials ruled the work was too dangerous – for young offenders.
The large cob wall was due to be given a fresh coat of white paint by youths who had been ordered to carry our community service by the courts.
Officials in Helston, Cornwall, earmarked the wall for maintenance work so it would ready for the town’s Flora Day in two weeks’ time.
Young offenders working under the community payback scheme were due to remove dry, flaking paint and give it a fresh coat.
But the town council has now been banned from letting the troublemakers paint the wall – because of health and safety fears.
The probation service said the old wall was too near a road and ruled the offenders might be at risk – from flaking paint.
Council tax payers now face a bill of more than £1,200 for the work to be done by professionals.
Town council clerk Chris Dawson said: ”We have been told the work is not suitable for the community payback scheme due to the location next to a main road and the materials to be used.
”We wanted the wall to be repaired and repainted by minor offenders but have been told they can’t do it – it is too dangerous.”
Cllr Keith Reynolds added: ”In the past, people just did it. It should be done for the good of the community and should not be the remit of health and safety.”
The council has agreed to a professional company doing the work for around £750 with a further £500 from unspent grant money.
Jacqui Felix-Mitchell, of the probation service, said: ”Offenders ordered to do unpaid work as part of a community order do a range of projects which both benefit local communities and give something back.
”Like all responsible organisations we have to abide by health and safety guidelines.”