YOU have to admire the optimism of Oxford City Council with its amnesty over illegal sub-letting of social housing.

The council is to offer up a two-month window from August 1 in which people who are illegally sub-letting their council home and come forward will face no criminal action.

Amnesties of various kinds can have wildly varied results.

Police weapons usually turn up a decent haul, relying on a bit of guilt or motivating those who have never quite got around to getting rid of that samurai sword in the wardrobe. As you do.

But the city council faces a different problem with this sub-letting issue because people are not doing something illegal when all they have been is a bit lazy and forgotten to do something.

With sub-letting, tenants are either doing it for the financial benefit it brings or to help out (in their eyes) a relative.

What the council is relying on is that not only will the guilt make their targets fess up, but that they will also choose to forego what is probably a good few extra quid in the pocket.

Money is a powerful motivation after all.

We hope the council is successful but it is by no means a certainty.