A SQUAD of good samaritans will be pounding the streets of Basingstoke for an extra night.

Currently the Street Pastors, a team of volunteers, from churches across the town, patrol outside clubs, pubs and bars in the town centre, on Friday nights, to help revellers in trouble or to defuse a minor crisis.

The scheme, introduced last July, has proved such a success it is to be extended to Saturday night from July 25.

Malcolm Murray, senior street pastor, said: “We have had great feedback so far from the public and from doormen, and the police and have been asked when are we going to be out on Saturdays?”

The idea of introducing Street Pastors in Basingstoke came from Basingstoke police, and has been developed in partnership with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Mr Murray said: “We are a calming influence in the town and help to talk down volatile situations.” However, the team are not there as a substitute for the police, and the members do not get involved if violence breaks out.

Instead, they offer advice, or assistance with getting home or, maybe, just a listening ear.

One of their regular duties is giving out flip-flops to women who have taken off their troublesome shoes.

There are now 40 volunteers based at the United Reformed Church in London Street. All have uniforms and are trained in personal safety and talking and helping vulnerable people.

The street pastor scheme was pioneered in Brixton, London, in January 2003 by Rev Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust.

There are now more than 3000 volunteers around the United Kingdom.