PUPILS at an Accrington high school are being offered a reward to "shop their mates" to police.
Posters are being put up at The Hollins Technology College, and around Baxenden, encouraging the students to ring cops if they see their friends committing petty crimes such as scratching cars, breaking windows and scrawling graffiti.
In return they will receive £20 in mobile phone top-up vouchers.
The scheme, dubbed Busted, has been described as a "kiddies' Crimestoppers" and, if successful, could be rolled out at other schools throughout the borough.
But it has divided opinion, with some parents calling it "a bribe to grass on your mates" and warning it could turn pupil against pupil.
One dad, Victor Rudge, said: "You will end up with kids telling stories just to get the money and it will be a waste of time."
Mum Dee Cleary said: "I think it's a good idea but you'll find it hard finding kids who will grass up their mates."
Another Hollins mother, who did not wish to be named, said: "I just think they should want to do it rather than being bribed for it."
A parent of a Year 10 pupil said: "I don't think kids should 'grass each other up' over petty things such as graffiti on the street corner or something that will not actually do any harm. Kids will be kids.
"However, something as serious as taking drugs or stealing cars is a different matter and should really be reported out of concern for a friend rather than something as shallow as a mobile phone voucher."
Another mother, who also did not wish to be named, said: "At the end of the day it's grassing up your mates just to get some sort of financial reward."
An unrepentant Suzanne Taylor, the police community support officer for Baxenden, who is spearheading the initiative, said: "It's a way of cutting the amount of criminal damage we get in the area.
"It will act more as a deterrent, the fear of whether my mate will grass me up.
"Students need to be aware that at some stage they have to grow up and become more responsible.
"If teenagers hang around in a group and know someone is responsible for criminal damage they can call us anonymously.
"A lot of it is peer pressure. Someone might want to stop what's going on but can't stand up against it. Now they can ring us, reduce criminal damage in the area and make it a nicer place.
"I don't think they realise that scratching a car or breaking someone's window causes a lot of offence and worry to people."
Suzanne added: "We are launching this at Hollins but if the pilot scheme works we will be looking at introducing it into most schools in Hyndburn."
Mr Ian Butterfield, the school's deputy head in charge of pupil development, said: "The police and the school work together on initiatives that help the community and promote citizenship.
"Getting young individuals more involved in their local community is a good way they can make a positive contribution."
- IF you see a friend committing a crime ring PC Clare Wall or PCSO Suzanne Taylor on 353103 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .