A CAMPAIGN is being launched in a bid to tackle “astonishing” levels of dog fouling on Tranent’s parks.

Sports clubs are working alongside East Lothian Council in a bid to reduce the number of people failing to clear up after their pets.

Three blackspots in the area have been identified – Polson Park, Meadowmill and Ross High playing fields – and Councillor Colin McGinn described the amount of dog fouling as “astonishing”.

He said: “What is currently happening is the rugby club and Tranent Colts, who use Ross High playing fields, they have to send out a group of coaches or officials to walk the pitches and clear up the mess before they start playing. Runners at Meadowmill, or even the cricket club, are having to go out and make sure the training areas are clean before they start.

“Folk want to just turn up and get fit or improve their wellbeing without having to resort to clearing up dog mess before any activity.

“It is irresponsible and pretty uncaring from people.”

Mr McGinn, who lives in Tranent, visited Meadowmill alongside representatives from various East Lothian Council departments, including environmental health.

The councillor described the situation as “a disgrace”, with a campaign to be launched in the coming weeks.

Adam Hook, head coach at Ross High RFC, agreed it was a major problem.

He said: “It is really frustrating. You can imagine we are trying to get warmed up and someone stops playing after spotting dog mess on the pitch. Someone then has got to take time out to clear it up and it impacts the warm up or during the game.”

Mr Hook was keen to see more regular patrols carried out by dog wardens in an attempt to catch irresponsible pet owners.

He added: “They should hit them in the pocket and see if they do it again.

“It is just total laziness. I know lots of people with dogs that would never dream of doing it.”

Phil Purves, chairman of Tranent Colts, agreed that it was a problem which was getting worse.

He told the Courier: “It is very frustrating.

“[Clearing dog fouling] is something we have done pretty much all the time we have coached but it is out of control now.

“We had a game two weeks ago and had to clean up 15 piles off one pitch.”

The club has recently bought a dog fouling bin to be put near the playing fields in a bid to encourage owners to clean up after their pets.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “The council has noted an increase in complaints about dog fouling in recent weeks, particularly within grass sports areas and school grounds.

“Options are currently being considered as to how best to tackle this situation and will be communicated in due course. In the meantime, all dog owners are reminded of their legal and moral responsibility to clean up after their dog and dispose of the waste properly.”