Concerns have been raised over "irresponsible" dog owners who get away with ignoring their pet's mess after the number of "poo fines" handed out in south Bucks was revealed this week.

Council figures show just one dog owner has been fined £50 for failing to clean up after their pet in the Chiltern district since July last year, while no penalties were handed out in South Bucks.

Conviction rates are also low in Wycombe – with on average five anti-social pooch owners fined per year since 1998, according to figures released through Freedom of Information.

However the revelation comes as no surprise to Peter Foster, from the Beaconsfield Society, who says there is little sign of enforcement in the area – from dog fouling to parking.

He raised concerns dogs’ mess causes “very real problems” around sports clubs as it poses a risk of infection to those using the fields.

Mr Foster said: “Not cleaning up after your dog is plain thoughtless and irresponsible.

“We aren’t surprised that no one has been issued a notice as too little is enforced in the area from parking to dog mess.

“To be honest it is difficult to see how fixed penalties could be a deterrent if there is not realistic enforcement.

“It is an education issue for dog owners, the vast majority are doing the right thing. It is the few who don’t who get dog owners a bad name.”

Head of housing and environment at Wycombe District Council, Nigel Dicker, said it is “very difficult” to catch dog owners who fail to clean up after their pooch and they will only be issued with a fine if there is “sufficient evidence”.

He said: “It can be very difficult to catch owners allowing their dogs to foul, and we only issue fixed penalty notices if we have sufficient evidence to take the matter to court, if they are not paid.

“This means we need a good standard of evidence and a witness willing to attend court.

“We run regular campaigns to raise the profile of tackling dog fouling, such as the ‘Is your dog really clever?’ feature in the latest Wycombe District Times, and can place temporary signs in problem areas to raise awareness.”

Issuing fines for dog fouling “is just one option” for tackling the issue, according to South Bucks and Chiltern district councils.

Spokesman, Connie Primmer, said: “Often it’s more effective to address the issue by educating, raising awareness and encouraging community resolutions.

“We would remind people that it’s illegal not to clear up after your dog and we encourage dog owners to take responsibility for their pets.

“We provide hundreds of dog waste bins in the district, all displaying contact phone numbers.

“Stickers are placed in areas where fouling is known to happen, providing a number to call to report it.

“Members of the public can also report any incidents they witness online, and we ask them to supply as much information as possible so we can take appropriate action.”

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