DOGGY deposits on Swindon’s streets could soon be costing their owners a pretty penny.

Councillors say dog mess is plaguing parts of Swindon so badly that the time has come for action.

Coun Bob Wright (Lab, Central) will ask Swindon Council tonight to give powers to Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to fine dog owners who do not clean up after their pets.

He said his ward is plagued with the problem, particularly in the Railway Village, and he said it was one of the biggest issues raised by residents.

The council already has the power to issue fines, he said, but the problem is enforcing it. Currently people who don’t clean-up after their pet can be fined £50.

“Most councils in the country are looking or have already adopted these powers. It’s the job of the council to raise environmental issues and that’s what I’m doing.

“The council are not the police and they’re not there to act as the police.

“We are there to do something for the residents because sometimes they need someone to do things which are beyond their powers.”

He believes PCSOs who spend the majority of their time on the streets would be the ideal candidates, but would welcome other councillors’ suggestions on how best to tackle the problem.

“We want to encourage responsible dog ownership,” said Coun Wright.

“We want to act and if necessary have a fixed penalty notice.”

But Coun Brian Mattock (Con, Old Town & Lawn), Swindon’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability, said dog fouling was not a major of concern when compared with fly tipping and graffiti.

“Dog fouling has reduced considerably in the last few years,” he said.

If adopted the scheme could echo a similar set-up run by West Wiltshire District Council.

There dog walkers can be fined £80, if they fail to clean up.

The fines can be issued by environmental enforcement officers, environmental health officers, dog wardens, parking officers and PCSOs in some areas.

If the offender pays the notice within 14 days they are not taken to court, but if the matter goes to court and they are found guilty they get a criminal record and can face a fine of up to £1,000.

A spokesman for West Wiltshire District Council said so far there had been only limited success because unless someone is seen committing an offence it is hard to prove they have done anything.

He said: “We do not keep statistics on this subject in particular although dog fouling complaints received by phone have fallen slightly over the past three years.”