UK
20/11/2013 11:30 GMT | Updated 20/11/2013 11:31 GMT

Amsterdam Pays Alcoholics In Beer To Clean Streets

Those ever-liberal Dutch authorities have taken an innovative approach to tackle the problem of alcoholics blighting Amsterdam's streets - pay them in beer to keep them clean.

The novel - if somewhat unorthodox - strategy sees each person given €10 (£8), half a packet of tobacco and five cans of beer - two for breakfast, two at lunch and one for after work, reports Times Live.

Gerrie Holterman, chief executive of organisers the Rainbow Foundation, told AFP: "The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.

beer amsterdam

It's doubtful such a system would be tolerated in the UK

"This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam's Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women."

The working day runs from 9AM to 3:30PM with the alcoholics working in groups of 10.

Holterman said: "You have to see things like this: everyone benefits. They're no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day."

The participants appreciate the incentive: "If they didn't give us beers then we wouldn't come".

Whether or not the scheme is beneficial to the drinking habits of those involved is up for debate.

One man, called Frank, said: "When we leave here, we go to the supermarket and transform the 10 euros we earned into beers.

"We need alcohol to function, that’s the disadvantage of chronic alcoholism."

Another, Vincent , said: "When I get home, I've already had a busy day and I don't necessarily want to drink," reports the Daily Mail.

"We also feel satisfied, a job well done, contributing to society despite the fact that we drink."