MORE than 20 teenagers celebrated a year of special achievements after graduating as police cadets.

Over the last 38 weeks, 22 police cadets from Burnley, Pendle, and Rossendale, have volunteered in various community projects, and helped officers by taking part in an emergency exercise.

They also visited Preston Prison to speak to officers, and inmates, about life behind bars, and were given an in-depth insight into policing.

The cadets, aged between 16 and 19, gathered at Padiham Town Hall to receive certificates for completing the scheme, and a Volunteering Qualification issued by Burnley College. Special recognition was given to Niall Caddy, 18, from Burnley, who was named Cadet of the Year. ‘Most Volunteering Cadet’ was Asjad Shah, 17, from Burnley, and the ‘Best Written Project’ award went to Burnley College student Jake Brown, 18, who lives in Accrington.

Steven Tomlinson, 17, from Rawtenstall, was ‘Most Physically Fit Male’, and ‘Most Physically Fit Female’ was Beth Gribble, 18.

Sgt Natasha Shaw, who runs the project, said: “The scheme gives young people the chance to gain valuable life experience, and qualifications along the way. They have shown fantastic commitment and I have been really impressed with their work. I hope the past 38 weeks have equipped them to go out to job interviews, or follow the career paths they are interested in.”

Since 2004, more than 250 cadets have completed Pennine Division’s Cadet Scheme. Many of these have gone on to join the Constabulary, with six becoming PCSOs, five becoming police officers, eight becoming Special Constables, 13 becoming volunteers, and one has joined as a member of police staff.

A new intake will start the scheme in September 2013. For more details, call 01282 477296.