Frustrated bosses at a grass-roots football club are having to install CCTV in a desperate bid to give dog-fouling the red card.
Alnmouth United manager Sean Henderson says the team is facing a hefty bill of thousands of pounds to pay for the system, to try to tackle the problem of irresponsible owners not picking up after their pets.
Muck is being left on the club’s Hotspur Park pitch, which is located in a field between Hipsburn First School and Alnmouth and Lesbury Cricket Club.
Sean says United face a constant battle against the mess and the club is desperate to stamp out doggy foul play.
He said: “We are trying to put an end to this by putting cameras up to cover the whole area and there will be signs up to notify people that the CCTV is there. It is going to cost us thousands – all because some people are being irresponsible and letting their dogs go onto the football field and fouling on the pitch. We have also had incidents where there has been piles of dug muck on the steps up to the changing rooms.
“We were promoted to the Northern Alliance last season and to comply with the league regulations, we had to cordon off the pitch, so we put fence posts up and put rope around. You would think that would put people off, but they still let their dogs go onto the pitch. It is just a total lack of respect.
“We scan the pitch the best we can before every home game, but we can’t police the site every day and there has been times where some mess has been missed and it shows us in a bad light.
“If a player has a graze or a cut and they then get dog muck in it, it could be fatal.”
Sean said that Alnmouth Parish Council sited a dog bin by the public footpath which runs near to the pitch. And he says that if the problems persist and CCTV does not solve the issues, the club may have to take even more extreme action.
He said: “It might be a case of installing proper fencing so nobody can access the grassed area/playing field, but we really don’t want to go down this route .”
The issue of dog mess isn’t confined to Hotspur Park though.
Earlier this month, the Gazette reported Warkworth Parish Council’s concerns about the amount of dog mess that was being left in the village, by owners either not picking up after their pooches or dumping bags of mess in hedges and verges.
The story prompted a string of comments from readers who said there were dog-fouling problems in their communities in various parts of Northumberland.
On our Facebook page, people complained about hotspots in Alnwick, Beadnell, the dunes at Bamburgh and Ellington.
And in an email to the Gazette, one resident living in Fullers Walk, Alnwick, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘I read the item regarding people dumping dog mess on fences and bushes in the Gazette. It’s disgusting.
‘We have a similar problem at the entrance to Fullers Walk and Weavers Way.
‘People are leaving bags of dog mess behind and in the salt bin and also lamp posts. I wish I could catch the person or persons that are doing this.’