Reprieve for ex-convict's crime fight

AN anti-crime education scheme threatened with closure because the Home Office refused an pounds 8,000 grant was reprieved yesterday after the Independent highlighted its plight, writes Steve Boggan.

Donations amounting to more than twice the amount needed to save the scheme were offered by readers to George Martin, the ex- criminal whose school lectures on prison life were threatened.

Mr Martin and Merseycare, a charity with links to Merseyside Probation Service, said that without the response, the 'Anti-Crime Encounter Initiative' would have ended on Friday. Now Mr Martin, 34, who had 250 convictions in 17 1/2 years of crime, will be able to continue his talks in 250 schools.

Three anonymous donors pledged pounds 5,000, pounds 500 and pounds 100, while Quality Teachers, a private supply teacher firm in Birmingham, put forward another pounds 5,000. As a condition of the offer, Mr Martin will be invited to deliver lectures in Birmingham schools.

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