Dumfries and Galloway Council safety officers are visiting community councils in Galloway to inform and update members on their work.
Safety officer Andrew Hay, who is based in the Stewartry, attended both Whithorn and Cree Valley Community Councils this week to educate communities on three subjects in particular: dog fouling, littering and fly tipping.
Andrew accepted that dog fouling was the number one complaint from communities across Galloway. He added that the biggest problem facing the dog wardens was catching dog owners red-handed failing to pick up dog dirt. If they follow up a reported offence they require two witnesses who are prepared to back up their statements in court. Andrew confessed that the high visibility jackets the officers wore tended to hamper them by making it difficult to conceal their presence.
Dog fouling has a £40 fixed penalty, rising to £60 if not paid within 28 days. Conviction for non-payment could result in a £500 fine. Dumfries and Galloway Council provide poop scoop bags free of charge.
Litter louts can expect to face a £50 fixed penalty if caught, rising to £80 in April. Andrew commented that many people did not realise cigarette stubs were classed as litter. The council also provided “stubby bags” free of charge for smokers to use.
Fly tipping is another problem in the Machars area with anything from chemicals to cars dumped on public land. The officers will act as soon as possible to clear waste dumped on this land but there are problems with waste dumped on private land as it becomes the responsibility of the landowner.
However, the council may be able to assist landowners with advice on disposal and prevention measures.
Fines for fly tipping can be as much as £40,000 and/or a six-month prison sentence.
The community safety team also deals with noise complaints and mediates in disputes between neighbours.
If you want to report any of the above to community safety team, you can contact then on 030 33 33 3000 or email communitysafetyteam@ dumgal.gov.uk.