Now, bare with us, this headline does sound a bit weird but let us explain things a bit more. Criminals are taking to construction as part of a Community Payback scheme for those working community sentences.

Unlike your usual litter picking, this programme allows offenders to learn new skills whilst helping keep stray cats safe and warm. Within this, they are learning how to use machinery such as circular saws and working on designing and building products too. Plus, the pads mean a safe place for the cats to sleep as well so bonus!

The head of the Community Payback scheme described: “Not only does this work protect the animals, it also enables people to learn different skills that can help them turn their lives around.”

West Yorkshire ­Community Rehabilitation Company’s placement co-ordinator Allan Fitzsimmons added, “It is possibly the most unusual job we have done – building homes for stray cats.”

“Cats Protection provided us with the design and materials, including circular saws, and we got cracking on producing the shelters.”

“It’s good to know that such a simple design can make such a big difference and we were very happy to have been able to help.”

Made out of polystyrene boxes, the offenders place this inside of a plastic storage box. Following that, they then cut two holes in the sides. This then allows the cats to come and go as they please. Finally, they then include a bed of straw to make the mini houses comfortable for their occupants. Done!

The programme is currently running in the Nottingham and Bradford areas as part of a Cat Census scheme. This is run by charity Cat’s Protection to try and track and help stray cats in Britain. Currently, more than 2,000 stray cats have been recorded on the streets of Luton, Everton, Nottingham and Bradford.

But, that’s suspected to be just a small number of the cats that need help. Instead, they estimate there are around nine million homeless cats in the UK that need help.

This isn’t the only scheme to introduce construction work to offenders though. Instead, you can even learn to become a scaffolder in prison! Take a look at the full report on this here.

But what do you think of this? Should more schemes be introduced like this? Combining learning new skills and helping the community? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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