Convicted criminals are being sent to work in Dundee primary schools, The Courier can reveal.
Community Payback Order (CPO) projects were organised in at least four schools in the city and it is understood children were in school at the time.
A total of 36,291 hours of unpaid work was undertaken in Dundee last year, including at St Luke’s and St Matthew’s, St Mary’s and Cragiebarns primaries.
According to a report by Chris Johnston, planning officer at the Tayside Community Justice Authority, most offenders found the work rewarding but some complained of “working with drug users”.
Dundee City Council has insisted projects are “strictly supervised” and “rigorous checks are carried out”.
The works came to light in a report to city councillors on CPOs, which are used as an alternative to a prison sentence, in Dundee.
Mr Johnston said: “A total of 76 projects involving 36,291 hours of unpaid work were carried out during 2013-14.
“This was a 3,717 decrease in the number of hours completed in the previous year when the hours were very high due to extensive work carried out on four large sports development projects.
“However it was a 776-hour increase on the first year of CPOs and a marked 13,371-hour increase on unpaid work hours carried out in the year before the new order was introduced.”
More than 75% of CPOs were successfully completed last year compared to 68% in 2010-11, according to the report.
It also highlights a number of recipients who were happy with the “excellent” work the convicts carried out.
According to Mr Johnston, offenders also responded positively to the unpaid work reporting that got to meet new people and learn new skills, as well as stay out of trouble.
However, some branded the work, which included painting and building an eco-friendly bottle greenhouse, as “repetitive” and also complained of “working with drug users”.
Mr Johnston said: “The more negative comments perhaps illustrate the mixed nature of offenders subject to unpaid work, with some not as motivated as others to work, others not having as many skills as some and others with health issues.
“In response, the service is continuing to extend the range and type of placements to ensure individuals are as appropriately matched as possible. It is also extending the number of individual placements for both men and women.”
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The environmental improvements carried out under community payback orders are organised in collaboration with schools and are always strictly supervised.
“There are rigorous checks carried out before any project goes ahead.
“Consultation with communities helps to identify developments that would benefit from work on community payback orders.”