POLICE cadets in Wiltshire have raised thousands of pounds for homeless charities over the past year.

The youngsters aged 13 to 17 from the county’s four units including Swindon took part in a sleep out at police headquarters, raising a total of £4415 which was handed over at their annual attestation ceremony.

Swindon’s cadet unit managed to generate more than £2,055 for Threshold.

Their efforts won praise from the police and crim commissioner Angus Macpherson and their volunteer leaders.

“The commitment, enthusiasm and standards that the cadets have shown throughout the year have been exemplary. Their participation in the scheme is on top of other competing demands such as school work, exams, other hobbies and spending time with family and friends,” Sgt Stephen McGlynn said.

“Over the last three years they have raised over £11,100 which is a massive achievement.

“The chief constable, police and crime commissioner and the chief officer team are all exceptionally proud of the cadets and our cadet scheme.”

Mr Macpherson, who joined them on the sleepout during December, was delighted with the amount raised for the charities. “The sleep out is a good opportunity for the cadets to experience what it is like to be homeless, but unlike many homeless young people this was something we only had to experience once before heading home to the warm,” he said.

“Opportunities like this are a great learning experience for our cadets. It helps them to understand others in our society and the challenges they may face.”

Wiltshire has four cadet units and members meet during term time to learn skills like radio procedures, the phonetic alphabet, basic law and how to deal with things like missing people. They work towards an ASDAN educational qualification.

Once they have taken their oath they can help with stewarding at events, take part in leaflet drops for the police and sit with their community policing teams.

Threshold , which started out at Swindon Cyrenians, helps more than 750 people a year in Swindon with accommodation, a breakfast club, evening soup runs and supported accommodation resettlement schemes.

Teens interested in becoming police cadets can email cadets@wiltshire.pnn.police.uk