Criminals collect bins without the council knowing

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Convicted criminals have been emptying your bins without the council’s knowledge.

Five inmates from HMP Spring Hill were employed in the refuse and recycling service through an agency located outside of the town.

However, the agency did not tell Aylesbury Vale District Council they were serving prisoners.

When the council discovered the truth all five were dismissed.

As part of the open prison’s resettlement regime, prisoners ‘who meet strict criteria and have been rigorously assessed as representing minimal risk’ are eligible to be released on a temporary basis. It is not known what sentences the five inmates were serving.

Jon McGinty, the council’s deputy chief executive, said: “It was presumptive of the employment agency to think that we would be happy to go along with this without having been consulted.”

The inmates began working at the council in the run -up to Christmas, a time of year when staff are often on leave and there is more rubbish to collect, creating the need for extra staff to be brought in. While reviewing staff requirements after the Christmas and new year period, their source was unearthed.

Mr McGinty said it was unlikely inmates from the prison had been working in other council departments.

The council does not currently have a policy for taking part in prison resettlement programmes.

Mr McGinty said: “I don’t think the council has a view as to whether it would like to take part in such a programme because we have not had a debate on it.”

Now the council is reviewing its procedures with the recruitment agencies it uses.

A prison service spokeswoman said: “We want prisoners to learn the habit of real work inside prison so they are better placed to find a job on release and turn their backs on crime. For that reason the prison is working hard to secure alternative employment for prisoners. This helps them gain the practical skills and personal discipline they need to find jobs and turn away from crime.”