CCTV used to snare dog owners who leave mess

Enviromental wardens on patrol in Edinburgh South. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Enviromental wardens on patrol in Edinburgh South. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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CCTV is being deployed to snare lazy dog owners who regularly allow their pets to soil the Capital’s public places, it has emerged.

The Evening News has learned the technology is being used to gather evidence against repeat offenders in the centre and south of the city.

It is understood six fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been issued with the help of CCTV since 2013 – three in Moredun and three in Dumbiedykes.

Dog fouling fines are worth £40 if paid within 28 days and £60 afterwards.

City council sources said the covert measure was not linked to an official campaign, with CCTV only deployed following repeated complaints about dog mess left in areas covered by existing cameras.

Residents today urged city leaders to consider extending CCTV enforcement across the Capital.

Pip Wallen-Priestley, 59, who was nominated for the Neighbour of the Year award after locals noticed his dedication to fighting litter on Leith Links, said: “In those areas where you have a high number of people who let their dogs out to do their business and then just call them back without picking up, a pilot of CCTV would work.

“It would work to catch re-offenders – those people who come out every night to let their dogs leave mess.

“Basically, people are lazy and if they think they can get away with it, they will do it, even if there are signs and notices up.”

Confirmation that CCTV is being used to crack down on dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets comes after we revealed how Edinburgh’s cleanliness staff are issuing only a tenth of the fines handed out in Glasgow.

Figures obtained by the Evening News show the number of on-the-spot £80 fines for dropping rubbish has plummeted to just over a third of the 2013-14 level.

And each of the Capital’s wardens is handing out only one fixed penalty notice (FPN) for dog fouling every six months. “I think CCTV would be very effective if it made people think they are being watched and there’s ­enormous potential,” said Mr Wallen-Priestley. If people think they’re going to be witnessed doing something, they’re going to be a lot more careful.”

City bosses are considering a range of additional enforcement measures in a bid to crack down on litter louts and lazy dog owners, including deployment of plain-clothes wardens.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said: “Tackling dog fouling is a high priority for the city, as it is not only unsightly but can cause a real health and safety risk.

“Identifying these owners through CCTV shows our commitment to using all possible avenues to catch offenders. However it’s not just about 
fining offenders, it’s also important to raise awareness in the community through 
targeted campaigns.

“We are currently refocusing our approach to dog fouling, with officers working up a set of proposals which will include harnessing the energies of community groups to ­support the council to tackle this blight.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com