Police officers have got a new weapon in the long standing battle against dog fouling – spray paint.
‘Pick up or pay up’ signs have been painted on pavements in hot spot dog fouling areas for the first time in Blackpool.
It is hoped the project will shame dog owners into picking up their dog’s mess.
PC Steve Jones, community beat manager for Tyldesley and Talbot wards, decided to pilot the scheme in the resort after the issue was highlighted as residents’ main bugbear.
He said: “It’s the first time it’s been done in Blackpool.
“Dog fouling has been a major issue among the residents of Talbot and Tyldesley wards for a considerable amount of time.
“It really affects people when they are out walking – it is an environmental crime that also poses health risks that can potentially cause blindness.
“We hope by putting stencils down we can educate people about the need for clearing up after their pets.
“It also informs offenders that if caught they will be prosecuted and ultimately fined.
“Doncaster has tried this and has proved that it has made an impact.”
More than 150 yellow semi-permanent signs have been painted on Palatine Road, Whitegate Drive, Hornby Road, Reads Avenue after the issue was raised at police and communities together (PACT) meetings.
PCSOs Martin Taylor and Matthew Wetherill joined PC Jones on his painting mission this week.
If the pilot project proves to be a success, it is hoped the scheme could be rolled out to other areas.
PC Jones added: “The paint is semi-permanent so it should last a couple of months. We are going to measure its success by the number of complaints.
“If they lessen then that proves it’s working and we will look at investment to get it done again.
“The response we have had from members of the public so far has been very positive.”
The £150 cost for the stencils and paint was met by community funding.
John Blackledge, director of community and environmental services, said: “Dog fouling is a long standing issue for our local communities.
“This is the latest tactic we are using to try to make people think about their actions, not only is dog fouling unsightly on our streets and open spaces but it also has health implications.
“We want to educate dog owners so they always clean up after their pet but if that doesn’t happen we will issue fixed penalty notices.”
Irresponsible dog owners can be handed £80 fixed penalty notices, which can rise to up to £1,000 if not paid immediately.