By Hugh Dunnett, Crime Correspondent
The barbaric act of public flogging is returning to Ipswich as part of a pilot scheme for the UK.
Home Secretary has approved the trial for six months, beginning next week.
Magistrates and judges will have new powers to send petty criminals for a good, old-fashioned public flogging on the Cornhill, the town centre square, rather than face prison sentences.
It is expected the cat-o-nine tail whipping will be a deterrent to criminals while saving the cost of sending them to prison.
And it will also provide brilliant new entertainment for locals. Sky TV is also in negotiations to pay for the rights to air the floggings live.
Suffolk Police is currently recruiting three ‘floggers’ to carry out the brutal punishment, which first began in the Royal Navy in the late 17th century. Similar punishments were popular for vagrants after the Whipping Act of 1530.
It is believed thousands of eager town residents have applied to give the town’s criminal element a sound beating.
Any form of public flogging has been banned since 1862, although it continued in prisons for years.
The Home Secretary says there will be public announcements in the local media, including The Suffolk Gazette, each time a flogging is scheduled.
Spokesperson Lorraine Fisher, 34, said: “The rise in petty crime in Ipswich has to stop. Public flogging is a good, environmentally friendly punishment that will save a lot of money because fewer toe-rags will be sent to prison.
“We expect the trial in Ipswich to go very well, and so it won’t be long before the scheme is rolled out across the UK.”