The Canal and River Trust has been named as the first charity partner to work with the government as part of a national plan to force criminals to take part in unpaid work schemes.
Offenders will tidy up hundreds of miles of rivers and canals in England and Wales every year under a new agreement with the charity.
Justice secretary Dominic Raab told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that the initiative was part of a number of plans designed to “restore common sense” to the justice system.
It has also been reported that criminals would be ordered to clear rubbish from waterways in “chain gangs” as part of his crackdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced in June that offenders guilty of anti-social behaviour should be in “fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs” publicly paying for their crimes.
The charity said it was delighted to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Justice as the first of a number of national partnerships the government intended to develop to help grow Community Payback, known as unpaid work, over the next three years.
A spokesperson for the CRT said: “The trust has worked with probation services in the past, such as in the West Midlands, but this partnership provides the opportunity and probation resources to roll this out to additional areas and waterways.
“It will help us carry out basic maintenance, conservation and environmental improvements that will benefit users of the waterways and the wider community.
“The trust’s commitment to community rehabilitation through work with the Ministry of Justice will continue to enhance the nation’s historic waterways, but also provide people on probation with useful work skills and a sense of ownership in their local communities that we hope will last beyond their involvement with unpaid work.”
The charity said that apart from the work delivered, it will recieve no financial benefit beyond some minor costs incurred.