THE long arm of the law is extending even further thanks to a Sunderland youth group.
Bikes donated by police officers in the city are set to be shipped thousands of miles to an African school.
The bikes will be handed over by 23 young people from the Box Youth Project who will also make the trip this December.
The project, which is running Operation Gambia’s 2013 Big Bike Appeal, provides educational and recreational activities for young people.
They are planning to ship 100 bikes to the Kassa Kunda Lower Basic School to help pupils on their daily six-mile round commute.
The donated bikes will be put in full working order at a workshop set up in the school in Allendale Road, before the official handover on the youngsters’ visit.
Pc Colin Davison, based at Farringdon police station, has been instrumental in organising the donation.
His 15-year-old son Chris is also taking part in the trip.
He said: “Police often recover bikes which are unclaimed by the public and which, more often than not, are in need of maintenance and repair work to be used again safely.
“We were more than happy to donate these bikes so they are put to good use in Gambia once given a make over.
“I’m sure the pupils will be delighted with them and they will ease the burden of their long trips to school each day.
“I’m extremely proud of Chris and the rest of the pupils for taking part in Project Gambia. So often young people get bad press, and people’s perceptions are of them being involved in antisocial behaviour and disorder.
“However, with the help of the Box Project, this shows how young people do want to get involved in worthwhile projects and to give something back to those less fortunate.”
Lisa Wilson Riddell, The Box Youth Project manager, added: “Project Gambia has proven to be an excellent tool for raising young people’s awareness of global citizenship and cultural diversity.
“The young people will undoubtedly have the experience of a lifetime and will also develop skills and confidence that will prepare them for further education and employment.
“The projects the young people will undertake in Gambia will not only change their outlook on life, it will make a huge difference to the lives of Gambian young people and their families.”
Howard Kemp, headteacher at Farringdon Community Sports College, added: “This is a wonderful project.
“We are delighted to be working alongside the Box Youth Project to support communities in Gambia.
“With the support of the police we are not only helping children far less fortunate than ourselves, but also helping our students gain valuable skills in bike mechanics.”
He added: “The whole school is behind this work and we hope to support our friends in Gambia for years to come.”
Find out more about the Box Youth Project at www.theboxyouthproject.co.uk.