Earth from Penysarn on Anglesey is to be sprinkled on the graves of the First World War soldiers from the village by members of the local youth club whose trip is being -funded by cash seized from criminals.

The visit to Belgium is part of a project to combat anti-social behaviour in the village and involves young people, aged from 11 to 18, who have been researching the names of the village's 17 fallen heroes for the past four years.

Their trip was delayed by a terrorist attack in the Belgian capital of Brussels in 2016 but they will now be able to make their emotional pilgrimage to the battlefield of Ypres to pay their respects at the graves of seven Penysarn soldiers who died there.

Before the project was launched groups of youths had regularly been behaving in an anti-social manner, but inspired and motivated by what they have learned young people now have much more pride in their village and this has helped build bridges with the community.

Penysarn Youth Club, which has 23 members, has received a £1,000 grant to make their Belgium trip a reality from a special fund distributed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.and which this year totals a record £61,901 with two major donations dedicated to fighting the County Lines menace.

The Your Community, Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year.

The money for the awards came partly from money seized by the courts through the Proceeds of Crime Act with the rest from the Police Commissioner’s Fund.

Each of the region’s six counties have up to £2,500 apiece for two groups with £5,000 each for two organisations that operate in three or more counties.

In addition this year, thanks to additional funding from the police and crime commissioner and North Wales Police, there are two new grants of £10,000.

The larger grants are designed to fund projects addressing issues related to the emerging threat of County Lines, where young people are being coerced and threatened with violence to take part in illegal activity across the region.

Around 15,000 votes were cast in an online poll to decide which of the community schemes received support, with the cheque presentation to 19 successful applicants at North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay.

Penysarn Youth Club leader Carol Whittaker said: "We tried to go out to Belgium three years ago but Brussels was hit by the bombings on the Monday before we were due to go out on the Saturday.

"We asked parents what they wanted to do and understandably they didn't want their children to go.

"Now thanks to the grant we've received we can finally take the young people out to Belgium in July where they will visit the graves of seven soldiers from Penysarn to lay a wreath and cross at each of them.

"We're also going to get a bit of soil from the village to take out to their graves. Obviously they're never going to return so this means we can take a little bit of home to them. It's emotional just thinking about it."

Carol, who is a teacher at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones in Amlwch and has been involved with the youth club for 21 years, says the World War One project has put a stop to anti-social behaviour in Penysarn.

She explained: "There were young people coming to youth club but also causing problems outside. Now things are a lot better.

"The young people take pride in their village and see the poignancy of our village hall which was built in memory of the soldiers.

"Researching the 17 names on the memorial stone in the village made WWI much more relevant to them.

"They realised that these men went to the same school and they have seen some of their houses. They've walked in the same footsteps.

"The young people met some of the families so got to know the men as individuals rather than just a name. The project has had a real intergenerational feel to it."

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who jointly presented the awards with new Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett, said: “I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects across north Wales for a seventh consecutive year.

“This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support through our on-line voting system and the response has seen almost 15,000 members of the public vote for a total of 30 projects.

“These projects help to support my Police and Crime Plan whose purpose is to ensure that North Wales Police is paying specific attention to those points which have been identified as crucial by the public, me and indeed by the force itself.

“I am delighted to see that a number of your applications aim to address this issue and support our young people.

“Community groups are vital to the citizens of north Wales, and in helping to ensure that our communities continue to be some of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK.”

Sacha Hatchett said: “This money includes cash from assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This is a particularly vital message as through the professionalism of North Wales Police Officers and with the support of the Courts, we are able to hit the criminals where it hurts – in their pockets.

“In the seven years we have made Your Community Your Choice funding available to local community groups we have recovered over £3 million in cash and assets.

“Our communities continue to play a part in this success with local intelligence information given to our officers that help us to bring these criminals to justice.

“Approximately £700,000 of these recovered monies has come back to North Wales Police from the Home Office and we are able to utilise part of this to support schemes such as ‘Your Community Your Choice’.

“It sends a really positive message that money taken from the pockets of criminals is being recycled. This is turning bad money into good that's being used for a constructive purpose.”