Street pastors have praised for the contribution to bringing down violent crime in Kingston town centre as police hand them more money to keep going.

The pastors, some of whom are in their 70s, wander around Kingston until 4am working with police and club owners to help vulnerable people.

Chief Inspector John Pendleton, handed over a cheque for £2,250, on Friday to pay for the co-ordinator of the scheme as well as training for volunteers.

He said: "They are all volunteers with a very strong moral Christian code about wanting to keep individuals in Kingston town centre safe.

"Their priorities are akin to what we are trying to do as a police force."

Paul Jacobs, who told the Comet he quit his job as a caterer when God told him to and is now a street pastor co-ordinator, described a typical evening’s work.

He said: "Lots of wiping up sick. Lots of giving directions. Lots of conversations with people who have life issues."

When they come across a fight the pastors talk to the perpetrators while colleagues turn to prayer.

They estimate they have picked up about 17,000 bottles since they began their service three and a half years ago.