Yarmouth man makes 100-mile round trip to do unpaid work
A judge has described as 'daft' the fact that a man had to make a 100-mile round trip to carry out his unpaid work order.
And Judge Peter Jacobs has given the probation service three weeks to find a solution.
Karl Kimber, 34, from Exmouth Road, Great Yarmouth, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday and admitted breaching a community order by failing to attend or maintain contact.
John Goodman, for Kimber, said his client was unable to do the unpaid work because he now had to travel to Lowestoft, after the Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust closed its Yarmouth base of operations this year.
Mr Goodman said Kimber now had to get a bus from Yarmouth to Lowestoft, was then transported to do unpaid work in, possibly, Norwich or Yarmouth, before having to get a bus back to Lowestoft and then on to Yarmouth.
He said that Kimber was the sole carer for his five-year-child and had breached the order by failing to attend, because he had to take the child to a childminder and subsequently missed the bus to Lowestoft.
Judge Jacobs said: 'Everyone is on about reparations and serving the community, but because of cuts to the probation service, none of this is happening.
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'To retain the public's confidence in the alternatives to custody, the probation service must come up with a solution. It will have to write to me within three weeks to enable this man to go to a collection point in Yarmouth and then be taken to do his unpaid work.'
Kimber was convicted of trying to set a bin alight on April 26 last year and handed a 12-month community order and 220 hours' unpaid work, of which he has completed 111 hours.
Julia Sharp, NSPT interventions director, said: 'Following the merger of Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Areas, we took a decision to close our Yarmouth office as part of our continuing commitment to make the best use of public money. The closure brings our facilities in the Yarmouth and Waveney area in line with the geographical spread of our offices across the rest of the Trust.
'This does mean that offenders living in Yarmouth are required to travel to Lowestoft to report for their Community Payback hours. There is a public transport service which operates from Yarmouth to Lowestoft, and we do not feel that it is unreasonable to expect offenders to make use of this.'