A COUNCIL is sending out officers on undercover missions to catch pet owners who fail to pick up mess after their dogs.

Cherwell District Council officers will target dog owners during early morning and evening walks in areas considered hotspots.

Anyone who does not clear up after their animal will be issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice.

It comes weeks after mum-of-three Alyson Clifton highlighted dog fouling problems at Bicester’s Bure Park estate.

She started circling dog mess in bright coloured chalk and leaving messages for dog owners after having to side-step 17 separate pieces of poo on a school run.

Since the start of April the council said its staff had issued two £50 fines, the first in a car park at Manston Close, Bicester, and the other in Milcombe, Banbury.

Cherwell’s environmental enforcement manager Mark Harmon said: “The majority of dog owners in Cherwell religiously pick up after their pets but there are those who will try and get away with it if they think nobody is watching.

“Our message is that we are watching and patrolling at all hours of the day, not just from 9am – 5pm.

“While some of our patrols will involve high vis clothing to make ourselves noticeable, others will be much more discreet in a bid to catch offenders in the act.

“So our advice is to always pick up after your pooch as you never know just who is watching – or when.”

To report incidents, go to cherwell.gov.uk/dogfouling or call 01295 227007.