One boy’s fight to keep his park clean

Brandon Evans, 12, walks along the sea wall in Preesall picking up dog mess.
Brandon Evans, 12, walks along the sea wall in Preesall picking up dog mess.

A schoolboy is waging a one-man war against anti-social dog owners who fail to clear up their animals’ mess.

Brandon Evans, 12, decided to take action after his skateboard and shoes kept getting caked in dog poo during visits to his local park in Preesall.

Two weeks ago Brandon started heading out with dog poop bags and scooping up the mess in his home village and neighbouring Knott End.

He has already filled more than 200 bags and has received glowing praise on a Facebook page he set up to support the campaign.

The St Aidan’s CE Technology College pupil has been out on his poo patrols twice a week after school and at weekends.

Armed with protective gloves, he has prowled areas including the park and the footpath along the Knott End sea wall.

Brandon, who keeps a log of his findings, has persuaded his eight-year-old sister Casey, parents Steve and Yong and the family’s pet whippet Daisy to help out.

“A few of my school friends found out about what I was doing and wanted to know why,” he said.

“It was really unpleasant stepping in muck when I walked home from school through the park and I just wanted to do something about it.

“It’s disgusting - other people clear up after their dogs so why can’t these owners?

“I’ve been really surprised by all the support I’ve had on Facebook and it would be great if other people wanted to come out and help.”

Brandon plans to continue his campaign into the summer to see if it leads to a reduction in offending.

Next week he will separately meet Wyre Borough Council area officer John Whittle and community beat officer PC Gary Cross to tell them about his campaign and discuss what more can be done.

The council and Knott End Newsagents have offered to supply him with poop bags, while Lloyds Pharmacy is offering him hand sanitiser.

Dad Steve said: “I was a bit surprised when Brandon told me what he wanted to do – he’s just like any other teenager and is into his football and skateboarding.

“But we know what a big problem this is and I’m proud of what he has achieved.

“It’s easy to point the finger and say the council could do more, but dog owners who should be more responsible.

“The mess is shocking really and from what I’ve seen it’s probably the same two or three people who are to blame.”

Brandon and Casey are to receive badges in recognition of their efforts from Wyre Borough Council as part of its Gimme5 campaign, which encourages people to spend five minutes improving the upkeep of their area.

A council spokesman said it had received 18 reports of dog fouling in Preesall between October and December last year and relied on the public to help it to identify the culprits.

The council issued three £75 fixed penalty notices in 2012/13, but has yet to issue any in 2013/14.

In September its Dog Fouling Focus Group agreed an action plan aimed at working with community and dog walking groups, schools, vets and town councils to promote responsible dog ownership and encourage people to report dog fouling.

The spokesman added: “We fully support Brandon’s endeavours and back any community initiatives that help get the message across to people who don’t pick up after their dogs.”