A one-man dog poo and litter task force is on patrol in Morecambe.
Phil Bradley is the town’s new Environmental Enforcement Officer.
Phil will patrol the Morecambe Town Council area (central Morecambe, the West End, Bare, Westgate, Torrisholme and Heysham North) and has powers to give out fixed penalty notices to anyone who breaks dog or littering laws.
“The two most common complaints the town council receives relate to dog fouling and litter, and this is why the council has decided to fund this position,” said David Croxall, Morecambe Town Council clerk.
Phil, who has 20 years of experience working with dogs in the army and the police force, can give out fixed penalties for dog fouling, dogs not on a lead, dogs on beaches not open to dogs, and for litter dropped in a public place.
The new post has cost the council £11,000. Phil works part-time on flexible shifts.
“Phil cannot be everywhere at once,” said Mr Croxall.
“We would ask residents who are aware of persistent problems in their local area to inform us about the problems occurring. This will allow the town council to target problem areas and deal with local issues more effectively.”
Residents wishing to make a complaint about dog fouling or litter should contact the town council by telephone on (01524) 422929 or by email David Croxall, Morecambe Town Council clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org . Flytipping is a matter for Lancaster City Council to deal with, but Morecambe Town Council would still welcome feedback on areas affected.
3pm. Tuesday. New Town Square, Morecambe. About half a dozen people are sitting on benches in the sunshine, smoking cigarettes.
Phil is watching from a short distance away. He has his eye on one man in particular, who he is convinced is about to break the law.
Sure enough, when the smoker finishes his cigarette, he stubs it out in the soil behind the Morecambe mosaic.
Phil walks straight over to him and in a raised voice so passersby can hear, informs the man that he has committed an offence of littering.
He gives the man an £80 fixed penalty notice and the smoker sheepishly picks up the butt and puts it in one of the nearby bins.
DIARY OF AN AFTERNOON ON PATROL WITH PHIL BRADLEY
3.15pm. Phil walks across to the Chieftain pub and has a good-natured chat with smokers outside the front door. They are using the cigarette bin fixed to the outside wall so no problems here.
3.25pm Phil checks out an alleyway off Pedder Street and finds a huge amount of rubbish on the floor. He has a quick word with a neighbour who complains about the flytipping and asks him how he can get some extra bins. Phil informs him he can order them from the town hall. He then knocks on the door of who he believes might be the culprit. There is no reply. Still, Phil will report the issue to Lancaster City Council.
3.45pm While patrolling Morecambe Promenade, Phil spots a woman with a dog and a ball thrower walking down towards the central beach. Between May 1 and September 30, it is an offence for dogs to be taken onto the beach between the Yacht Club and the Battery. Phil watches as the woman takes her dog onto the sands, then calls to her, asking her to return to the prom. When she learns she’s about to be given an £80 charge, the woman is shocked and angry. She claims she knew nothing about the bylaw and protests. “You’re not going to warn me, you’re just going to fine me?” she says, incredulously. But Phil stands firm. He informs her the law is well publicised locally. To support this, there are signs on nearby railings to warn people that dogs are banned from the beach.
3.50pm Phil walks back into the town centre and has a friendly chat with a homeless man and a man with a dog who is visiting the area. Phil owns three dogs himself, two labradors and a ‘Westie’, so they have plenty to talk about. He also tells the man about the dog ban on the beach. The tourist is grateful for the advance warning.
3.55pm Phil walks onto Lines Street and sees a young boy drop a plastic bottle on the road. He tells the lad, who can’t be much older than 11, to pick it up and put it in the bin. No fine here. As the culprit is a child, this is a situation for a friendly but firm warning rather than punishment.
4pm You get asked some unusual questions in Phil’s job. As he passes The Bull Hotel, a man asks him if he can put a parking ticket on a nearby mobility scooter. Phil smiles and tells him this isn’t part of his role!
4.10pm Phil drives to the West End and patrols Regent Park, where there have been reports of dog fouling in nearby streets. No signs of this today though.Phil says the West End is unusually quiet.
4.20pm Phil warns a shopkeeper who has left piles of cardboard on the pavement outside the store. As soon as Phil leaves, she cleans it up.
4.40pm Phil spots a dog without its lead in Regent Park. The owner is known to the council, he has done this before. He protests but Phil gives him an £80 fixed penalty. The man picks up his dog and carries him out of the park.