DOG walkers are being warned to 'Pick up the poo or pick up a fine' in a new campaign launched by Wyndham Ward councillors.

Sedgemoor District Councillors Gill Slocombe and Rachel Lilley are hoping to raise awareness of the problems dog litter creates and encourage offenders to clear up after their canines.

"The problem seems to be getting worse and worse. It it incredibly unhygienic and a blight on the neighbourhood," Cllr Slocombe said.

Sedgemoor District Council has two dog wardens who cover the entire district. One of the wardens, Tina Kick, explained some of the issues.

"There are plenty of dog poo bins around but people do bizarre things like leave bags on top of the lid or on the floor by the bin," she said.

"They also seem to think they can get away with leaving it if it is in one of the back lanes."

Not removing dog poo from public land can result in a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000. When caught offenders are served a fixed penalty notice for £75.

"We want people to give us as much information as possible, even if witnesses may be reluctant to give evidence in a legal case, just providing details of where the offence takes place, the date and time, whether they were male or female, the breed and colour of dog is very useful," Ms Kick added.

She explained that provided it is bagged properly the faeces can be put in normal litter bins.

"We make sure we do random patrols because if you have a set routine offenders just will avoid doing it when they know you will be there," she said.

Dog faeces has many health risks and can spread harmful parasites and disease which can be passed on to people, especially to young children and also to other animals.

These include toxocariasis which can cause blindness, headaches, and seizures and parasites such as tapeworms.

Cllr Slocombe said: "It can get worse in the summer holidays when youngsters are allowed to take the dogs out – but even if an underage person is caught, the parents can be fined."

The dog wardens patrol public open places including parks, children’s play areas and beaches within the district of Sedgemoor.

The wardens have been spraying red stencils encouraging people to pick up the mess in particular problem hotspots around Sedgemoor.