NEIGHBOURHOOD wardens have cut crime in Kirklees by more than a quarter, says a report.

And the Kirklees schemes have been praised by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's Office for the decline in the fear of mugging and street robberies in the areas where they patrol.

Yvette Cooper, a minister in the office, said the wardens had helped cut crime and fear of crime, making a real difference for residents.

"They are a friendly and reassuring presence on the streets, rebuilding confidence in local communities."

The Government's Neighbourhood Wardens' Evaluation Report examined progress in the first 84 areas to get wardens.

The scheme started in Kirklees in July, 2001.

Wardens now patrol Almondbury, Primrose Hill, the London park estate in Mirfield, the Moorside area of Dewsbury, Golcar, Cowlersley, Lowerhouses, Ashenhurst in Newsome, Dewsbury West and Fieldhead in Birstall.

The report highlighted successful projects in Kirklees.

They include accompanying the elderly to social activities and targeting patrols in dark areas, helping to secure anti-social behaviour orders and working with anti-drugs and youth inclusion programmes.

Wardens also take part in schemes to organise summer activities for young people, working to break barriers between young and old people and improving police response times.

Simon Rogers, Kirklees housing chief executive officer, said: "We are delighted the warden service has proved to be such a success with local people.

"Our own research and feedback confirms these findings.

"It is a vote of confidence in the service and the staff, who are working hard to improve people's quality of life."

The Government has set aside £91m for warden schemes until 2006.

Equal cash is provided either by the local council, housing association or voluntary sector organisation.