THE Dog Poo Detectives are on the case in Clackmannan, following a spike in the volume of dog poo left behind by inconsiderate dog owners.

Despite efforts to encourage responsible dog ownership, the mess remains a major issue in the town.

Indeed, it was highlighted as the most disliked aspect of the Clackmannan in its 2015-2020 Community Action Plan.

In response, community development officer Lesley Shaw applied to Coalfields Regeneration Trust to run a pilot programme and successfully received £2,000.

Since then Lesley has been working in partnership with Clackmannanshire Council’s community wardens, Debra Coan head teacher at Clackmannan Primary School and children of the We Count group – a pupil council committee which has representatives from nursery to P7.

The youngsters have been out on two occasions to assess the extent of dog poo in the community and highlight almost 100 instances in two just two outings.

Debra said: "It is so important that our children are meaningfully involved in the work of our community.

"The Dog Poo Detectives initiative, in partnership with Lesley, has provided a superb opportunity for the children to really make a difference and work together to improve the environment.

"Our children are directly affected by dog fouling in the area as they walk to and from school and they felt very strongly about the issue.

"The children are the future of our community and respect is one of our core school values.

"They are determined in their efforts to help make improvements. This has been a significant learning experience for our children and we hope to continue to influence change.

"It is brilliant to work in such an effective partnership with Lesley."

The We Count group have been going on walks in the community with Lesley and parent helpers to record and monitor dog poo levels around the school and town centre.

They then spray any mess found with bright yellow semi-permanent chalk paint to visibly warn people where it is, to avoid stepping into it and to highlight just how much there is in the town.

The first outing recorded a horrifying 48 dog poos, with another 44 found on the second outing a fortnight later.

Lesley said: "It was encouraging to see the number had decreased, but it is still 44 too many, especially as all the locations where the poos were found were just seconds from a local authority waste bin."

The group will be reporting in the next community newsletter which goes to all the homes and businesses in Clackmannan, Kennet and Forestmill to keep local people informed of the programme.

In addition to this, the We Count group have also had the opportunity to work with a graphic designer to create a logo and posters which will be used to promote the message around the town as part of the legacy of the programme and finish up with a promotional community event later this spring.

The Dog Poo Detectives will be back on the case in the near future.