Knitters can help brighten up path
Police have called on knitters to create colourful woolly decorations to help an underused footpath lose its reputation as a no-go area.
Officers believe a stretch of Great Central Way, in Leicester's West End, has an undeserved crime hot-spot tag and people are scared to walk along it.
Officers at Hinckley Road police station are working with Leicester City Council to spruce up the right of way, which traces the route of the former Great Central railway line between Glen Parva and the city centre.
Now they hope to enlist an army of local knitters to apply the finishing touches later this year by creating a collection of woollen scarves, pompoms and other designs to be placed along the route. The practice of decorating public areas in this fashion is known as "guerilla knitting" or "yarn bombing".
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Designs appeared across the city last year during Leicester Comedy Festival.
Sergeant Simon Barnes, who runs the Westcotes area beat team which covers the footpath, said: "I've heard people say they don't use the Great Central Way because they believe something bad will happen to them if they do.
"Issues, including street drinking, do crop up from time to time in that area, but no more than anywhere else and where they do occur we are there to deal with them.
"I want people to re-evaluate their perceptions of the place. It's a major thoroughfare, but it appears to be underused.
"We're already talking to the city council about some bits of it which need some attention, mostly areas where things need cutting back a bit.
"The idea of guerilla knitting or yarn bombing came up as a way of brightening the area up by getting local people involved in overturning some of those perceptions.
"They might be part of a knitting group which wants to get involved or individuals."
Sgt Barnes has cleared the plan with the city council.
Assistant mayor and councillor Sarah Russell said: "There are a number of knitting groups in this area and it would be good if they got involved. I'll be happy to join in because it sounds like a really innovative way of brightening the area up."
To get involved, contact Sgt Barnes at Hinckley Road police station by calling 101.