A CRACKDOWN on people who let their dog foul the streets without clearing it up has started in Darlington.

Cllr Nick Wallis, ward councillor for Haughton West, said he was moved to act after hearing repeated complaints from residents about the mess left behind by dogs whose owners choose to ignore it.

He has launched a campaign, with the support of the police, in which he is taking to the streets of Haughton to talk to owners about their responsibilities and to hand out dog poo bags and maps detailing where dog waste bins can be found in the area.

The package also contains a questionnaire for dog owners to suggest what more can be done to alleviate the problem, for example introducing more bins or moving existing ones to more visible or suitable spots.

Cllr Wallis said: “It’s not just a problem in this area, it’s all across Darlington, and I hope that councillors in other wards will adopt this strategy too because it is a common complaint from residents of most areas.

“It’s just not nice for anybody, but aside from how horrible it looks, there are also real health risks, especially for children who might fall in it and we want to get that message across.”

He added: “It’s not strictly a police matter but we’re glad to have their support as every month the issue of dog fouling makes it on the list of Pact (Police and communities together) priorities for this area.”

Cllr Wallis was joined on his first walk around the Whinfield area by PSCO Rachael Small and fellow ward councillors Tom Nutt and Helen Crumbie.

They said that the response to the campaign from dog walkers they had met was wholly positive.

Karen Copeland, who was out with her dog Jess, welcomed the efforts to tackle the problem.

She said: “I think a lot of people let their dog off then they walk off in front with the dog wandering behind and they don’t take any notice of what the dog is up to.

“Seeing it (dog mess) is horrible for everyone, and it can give all dog owners a bad name.”

Cllr Nutt added: “It is a big problem which is increasingly important to us; if everybody picked up the dog dirt and their litter it would save the town a lot of money to start with

“People should be responsible for what they do.”