The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is to reintroduce the once-familiar British Tramp to the countryside, to combat litter and minor vandalism. “For much of the last century,” says Martin Watson of CPRE “every village and country town would have one or two regulars shuffling around their patch, picking up cigarette ends, half-eaten sandwiches and carrier bags and keeping the area tidy.”
“Our trials show littering and anti-social behaviour by youths can be eliminated by deploying a carefully selected gentleman of the road to go about his business; lecturing pigeons, arguing persuasively with sweet-wrappers and generally introducing a certain level of ‘uneasiness’ to local life.
Most youth crime happens at night,” Watson went on “but any youngster with half a brain will be tucked up at home well before dusk rather than risk meeting a Hobo in the dark, with all the horrors that might involve.”
CPRE is encouraging Local Councils to assist in creating a fit for purpose 21st Century Tramp; one which incorporates all the original's rather strange habits but with the added benefit of a tracker-tagging device. “Perhaps someone local has lost his job to the recession and his family to divorce. He’s probably lost his home too but just to be sure, why not .. ahem .. 'mis-file his benefit application' under the budgie’s cage and encourage his landlord to evict? At that stage you’ve assembled the basic ingredients for your very own Tramp; add a gallon of White Lightning and you’re away. ”
Ideally, CPRE would have liked to establish a breeding colony but oral and genital hygiene issues make that a stretch too far. “However,” concluded Watson “we’ve partnered with HM Prison Service and once our own tramps are up and shambling we’ll be offering ‘apprentice placements’ under the ex-prisoner mentoring scheme. A good number end up on the streets anyway, so its win-win.”