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Offenders to scrub London tunnels before wedding

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The Associated Press
Monday, March 14, 2011; 12:06 PM

LONDON -- With British government budgets tight across the board, perhaps it's no surprise officials plan to utilize convicted offenders' free labor to help clean up London for the big day.

The offenders, convicted of minor offenses, are to scrub the grimy pedestrian tunnels at the Hyde Park Corner tube station that is expected to be used by thousands of people hoping to get close to Westminster Abbey or Buckingham Palace on April 29, when Prince William weds Kate Middleton.

Officials said Monday the cleanup plan is part of a program that puts offenders to work on local projects to benefit the community.

Warden Ravi Kumar said the cleanup will make the heavily trafficked subway station tunnels much more presentable to the thousands of visitors expected.

"Using the scheme seemed perfect as it is a great example of people paying back their community and contributing something beneficial following their conviction," said Kumar.

The station is close to Buckingham Palace and the processional route the royal couple will follow.

"The tunnels do get cleaned every night but they were in need of some real elbow grease," said Kumar. "I went down myself with a bit of wire sponge and had a scrub and it really made a difference so I thought doing it manually would be our best option."

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