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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Drug addicts given rounds of golf
Golf tee
Addicts can use the course at the Hartlepool Power station plant
Drug addicts on Teesside are being offered rounds of golf to help them kick the habit.

The project in Hartlepool provides the free use of a nine-hole course, plus equipment, to encourage them to rebuild their lives through sport.

Activities such as football, ten-pin bowling and badminton are also offered under the Drugs Intervention Programme (DIP) initiative.

However, golf is proving to be the most popular choice.

The sports project costs 4,000 a year, half of which comes from Tees Valley County Sport Partnership and the other half from the DIP, which is funded by the Home Office.

'Absolutely farcical'

An agreement has been reached with Hartlepool Power Station to use the golf course at the Tees Road plant and the DIP has bought two sets of golf clubs.

The move has been criticised by some in the town and seen differing opinions in one political household.

Councillor Geoff Lilley, of the Greatham ward, said: "It's absolutely farcical.

"Anything that takes people off drugs is good - but I don't see how expensive golf equipment will help."

However, his wife, Councillor Alison Lilley, who represents the Fens ward, praised the initiative.

She said: "I think that absolutely anything we can do to help people addicted to drugs, within the confines of funding, is a good thing, even if there are only a few people who would be helped by taking up golf."

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