CCTV to target problem dog owners

DOG owners who don't clean up after their pets could be the first target of a new mobile CCTV camera in mid Suffolk.The small camera can be positioned out of sight and take still pictures every five seconds – and environmental health officers will then collect footage of offenders and issue fixed penalty fines.

By John Howard

DOG owners who don't clean up after their pets could be the first target of a new mobile CCTV camera in mid Suffolk.

The small camera can be positioned out of sight and take still pictures every five seconds – and environmental health officers will then collect footage of offenders and issue fixed penalty fines.

Mid Suffolk District Council say it will be used to target everything from dog-fouling and fly-tipping to anti-social behaviour.


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John Grayling, environmental control manager, said: "In the first instance it is intended that this CCTV be used to monitor dog-fouling hotspots. Potentially, evidence can be gathered to impose fixed penalty fines on those who do not clear up after their dogs.

"The environmental control section already have a number of locations in mind where this equipment will be used.''

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Keith Scarff, Stowmarket town mayor, is delighted at the chance to crack down on those anti-social dog-owners whose pets blight areas including public footpaths and children's play areas.

He said: "There is no excuse for it in this day and age, we have plenty of dog litter bins about. Most dog-owners collect and bag dog mess, it's always a minority who spoil it.''

Needham Market is one community that has suffered a series of anti-social problems, and district councillor Wendy Marchant said: "People in Needham Market are very concerned about litter and dog fouling.

"The council spends a lot of money clearing up litter, but as quickly as it is cleared up it is dropped again. It seems minor, but it causes as awful mess. We do not want to be draconian, or have big brother watching all over the place, but where it is needed, it will help.''

The district council says care will have to be taken using the surveillance equipment, particularly with regard to the likes of the Human Rights Act.

Mr Grayling has been in touch with other organisations using mobile CCTV, including local authorities and the Environment Agency, to learn from their experience using video recordings as evidence.

Mr Grayling said: "Waveney District Council has particular experience of using this type of equipment in cases of anti-social behaviour and the Environment Agency has for fly-tipping problems, so the legal issues are well known and pitfalls avoidable.''

Jon Brighton, mid Suffolk police sector commander, said the camera had been bought by the council but the constabulary may liaise with it if they identified possible areas it could help the force too.

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