A parish council had to step in to buy bicycles for its police community support officers after both the police and the Government said they would not pay for them.

PCSOs have become the number one source of information for police tackling anti- social behaviour and drugs since they were introduced in Blackbird Leys a year ago.

Despite the PCSOs costing the force £100,000 a year, neither the police nor Government would agree to pay for four bicycles to help the officers get around the estate more quickly.

Now money handed over by Blackbird Leys Parish Council will fund four new bicycles at a total cost of £1,000.

The bikes will belong to the parish council, and will not be allowed to be used by officers in the rest of Oxford.

Parish council chairman Brian Lester said: "They say it helps with crime prevention because they are more mobile. We feel it is a good idea and will help them in their role.

"Questions were raised as to whether the police or Government should be supplying these bikes but the parish council believed it was a good use of taxpayers' money.

"Our apprehension was one of the reasons we made sure the bikes could only be used on the estate and not used by the rest of the force in other areas of the city."

The four PCSOs first patrolled Blackbird Leys in May 2005, as part of a citywide initiative and move towards neighbourhood policing.

They already receive free bus rides and have been praised by police and councils for collecting information and being a visible presence.

Bikes used to help the officers get round the estate this year were borrowed from colleagues at Cowley police station.

A police spokesman said: "Four bikes have been sponsored by the parish council to enable the police community support officers to cover a bigger area and proactively deal with antisocial behaviour in a more timely fashion.

"This is a clear example of partner agencies working together and we are very grateful that they have chosen to help support our police teams which will be of great benefit to residents of Blackbird Leys.

"There is a budget to support PCSOs and the force is currently considering any extra funding that would be needed to help PCSO's do their jobs more effectively."

Last year businesses and locals rallied round to raise £4,000 to provide bicycles and stab proof vests for police officers in East Oxford. During the summer Wallingford Town Council spent £500 on providing local officers with bikes.