CRIMINALS’ ill-gotten gains are being used to fund four youth and community projects across Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

Almost £50,000 seized from criminals is being shared out between the Rossendale-based Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Fraser Street Youth Club, Burnley, Colne’s North Valley Youth Club and Foulridge’s Well Restoration scheme.

The cash grants have been awarded from a pot of money seized under the Proceed of Crime Act (POCA) from those who have profited from crime.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, set up in memory of the 20 year-old who was killed in a Bacup park in August 2007, by her mum Sylvia, will receive £30,000.

The money will fund workshops aimed at educating youngsters about tolerance.

A sum of £17,000 will pay for new spaces at Burnley’s Fraser Street Youth Club, a voluntary-run facility which serves around 40 young people, aged 13 to 19, and around 30, aged 11 to 13.

Colne’s North Valley Youth Club, which aims to increase community cohesion through educational classes, will get £1,500.

And £500 is being given to Foulridge’s Well Restoration scheme, a project aimed at bringing a vandal-hit well back to life.

Chief Inspector Russ Procter, of Pennine Police, said: “All too often, communities are damaged by the impact of crime and criminals, so it is good to see some of the money seized from those involved re-invested into communities to make them stronger and better.

“All four of the projects set to benefit from the community cashback programme are extremely worthy of the support.”