by Andrew Bailey

A DISUSED railway line through Little Hulton and Walkden has been cleaned up by a team of community payback offenders.

The team of 14 have all been through the criminal justice system and been given court sentences ordering them to do unpaid work to benefit the community.

They managed to fill more than 30 bags of rubbish as they completed 70 hours’ of work tidying up the land.

The scenic route, popular with dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and families, had been accumulating litter, so community groups suggested it as an ideal project for the payback team to work on.

The land used to be the lower level train track that ran from Little Hulton via Walkden and to Worsley before it was decommissioned in 1954.

The community payback scheme is intended to reduce the risk of people committing further crimes by giving them meaningful work and a chance to gain life skills.

Deputy Mayor of Salford Cllr David Lancaster, who is responsible for community safety, said: “This scheme gives these offenders the opportunity to repay their debt to society, while also gaining skills and work experience.”

He said the area of natural beauty was at risk of being destroyed by people dumping their rubbish.

Community payback officer Steve Dyson said: “Offenders worked for roughly 70 hours on the site, carrying out hard work and paying back to the community.”

The project prompted a good public response. One observer wrote on Twitter: “It’s fantastic, I run down the loop lines every week and I cannot believe the state it got into — but now it looks great.”