BORDERS criminals have helped bring derelict greenhouses back to life in Galashiels.

And the new glasshouses are already producing their first organic crops to promote healthy eating and supply local foodbanks.

For decades the local authority used the industrial-sized greenhouses at Eastlands to grow plants to brighten up the region's public flower beds.

But in 1999 Scottish Borders Council's parks department decided it was more economic to buy in their begonias, geraniums and petunias.

Over the following 15 or 16 years the greenhouses were left redundant and neglected.

But a tie-up between the Peebles-based social enterprise, You Can Cook, and the local Criminal Justice Team has led to seeds yet again being planted at Eastlands.

Bosco Santimano from You Can Cook explained: "The Criminal Justice Team has been working with us since 2015 on this Scottish government funded project.

"Restoring the greenhouses at Eastlands will only help formalise a growing partnership between us both to support many communities in the Borders."

The organic crops grown and harvested at Eastlands will be used in the You Can Cook sessions to promote healthy eating.

And surplus courgettes, tomatoes, onions and lettuces will be donated to local foodbanks as demand continues for food parcels.

Mr Santimano believes the partnership between You Can Cook and the Criminal Justice Team will benefit everyone involved.

He added: "Our partnership benefits the Criminal Justice Team as well as ourselves as the greenhouses and gardens expand the range of work available to their clients.

"Some of their clients who may not be able to do manual labour, mostly outside, can find a placement here with us.

"The partnership can also be used to promote healthy lifestyles with their clients.

"This would then contribute to a positive outcome not only for the clients but also the wider community."

Staff and volunteers are currently harvesting their first crops at Eastlands with many more crops due to be ready in the autumn.