A GAME designed to get children fit and healthy is being spoiled by cheats, it has been claimed.

Around 24,000 people have signed up to take part in Beat the Street, encourages youngsters to run, walk and cycle in a bid to score points and win prizes for their schools. They do this by tapping Beat Boxes that are placed on lamp posts with their registered card or fob; they will then go from box to box to gain points.

However, Adver readers say they have witnessed ‘cheating’, as parents are driving their children to tap the box.

Brigid Harkness, from Windsor Road, said: “I’m sure we all welcome the latest initiative to get young people mobile, but there are some in Swindon who really do not get the point.

“We were walking along Marlborough Road when a car stopped abruptly, two kids got out, ran down Caernarvon Walk and tapped their Beat the Street tabs before returning to the car.”

She said a friend had seen the same thing happening on Broome Manor Lane.

Brigid added: “It’s very sad to notice that some parents and children have got the idea of the competitive element but failed to register that you are supposed to walk or cycle and it is not for car drivers.

And a reader from Headlands Grove wrote to say: “Unfortunately people are cheating. I live a few yards from one of these boxes and watch cars pulling up alongside and tapping the boxes.

“The other day I was walking past a box a car pulled up. The driver got out, presumably the Father, tapped the box got back in and drove off. How unfair on the children who walk or run around this course and genuinely want to lose weight.”

Organisers have already begun to wipe points from players found to have cheated.

Coun Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for adult services, said: “We are disappointed to hear that people have been playing fast and loose with the rules of the game.

“Beat the Street is a brilliant initiative that has so far proved extremely successful - 24,000 people signed up in the first week and have so far covered more than 64,000 miles.

“The aim of Beat the Street is to encourage people to walk, cycle and become more physically active. In order to make the game fair, the organisers have already begun to wipe points from players found to have cheated. We would encourage anyone who has witnessed cheating to get in touch with the organisers at team.swindon@beatthestreet.me and they will be able to take action.”

The game is going down well on Facebook. Mrs Tanfield, a teacher at Goddard Park primary school, commented: “It has had a positive effect on families, they are spending quality time together and getting healthier too.”