Prisoners looking for love are meeting up for dates with potential partners while serving still their sentences in Denmark.

In what looks like the latest expression of Scandinavia's long tradition of progressive policies, prison authorities in the country have approved a dating site for inmates and the people wanting to meet them.

More than 10,000 members have joined the online group since it was launched only two weeks ago, by prisoners themselves.

The nature of the penal system in Denmark is the reason the group is able to exist, with inmates allowed access to the internet and have time off from jail at weekends.

One man serving three and a years for drugs-dealing, spoke excitedly of meeting with a woman through the group.

Pedersen, 27: "I'm really excited. She is the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning. It's a good way to get in touch with women. On regular chat sites women often get spooked when they find out you're an inmate, but here they know."

People meeting through the dating site are not allowed to consummate their relationship in prison, since only married couples are allowed conjugal visits.

The authorities hope the jail date group may aid rehabilitation by enabling prisoners to adjust better to life beyond the walls when they are released.

Prison service spokesman Lars Erik Siegumfeldt said, "We know that when prisoners have served their sentence, if they have a family or a partner that is one of the key elements in not committing new crimes."