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Proceeds of crime fund new pitches

Almost £2 million seized from criminals is to be invested in all-weather pitches to encourage more young people to get involved in sport.

Six 3G synthetic surfaces, costing £300,000 each, will be installed around the ­country, with a particular focus on areas that ­experience anti-social ­behaviour and crime, the Government said.

The pitches are to be sited at Townhead Park in Cumnock, Marr Playing Fields in Troon, Castlehead High School in Paisley, Linlithgow Leisure Centre, Craigie Community Sports Hub in Dundee and Aberdeen Sports Village.

Applications for the ­funding were invited from local authorities and sports clubs and were assessed by sportscotland, Scottish Rugby, the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Government.

The latest batch follows an announcement in ­December of five other ­locations for the pitches.

Since 2007, CashBack for Communities has taken £74m recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act and invested it in community, sport and cultural programmes, the Government said.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the latest funding yesterday in ­Aberdeen. He said: "This is a momentous year for sport in Scotland and the Commonwealth Games is providing young people across the country with the perfect inspiration for getting into sport. CashBack for ­Communities seizes money from some of the very worst of society and can provide those who have struggled at the start of their lives with fantastic personal and sporting opportunities."

Sportscotland and ­environmental group Wren have also contributed to the funding of the 3G pitches.

Stewart Harris, chief ­executive of sportscotland, said the body was committed to developing world-class facilities throughout Scotland, and added: "This excellent collaboration between ourselves, the Scottish Government and Wren is helping to achieve this goal."

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