NIGHT VISION GOGGLES USED TO COMBAT DOG FOULING HAVEN'T CAUGHT ANYONE

    NIGHT VISION GOGGLES USED TO COMBAT DOG FOULING HAVEN’T CAUGHT ANYONE

    A council which was criticised for giving staff night vision goggles in a bid to crack down on dog fouling has not caught a single person since they were introduced.

    Undercover wardens were equipped with the taxpayer-funded devices in a bid to catch out dog owners who failed to clean up after their pets in November.

    Stafford Borough Council sparked controversy for investing in the sophisticated James Bond-style gadgets as part of a crackdown on inconsiderate pet owners.

    The £230 espionage equipment came with a built in laser illuminator to improve viewing in the dark so council staff could issue on-the-spot £75 fines.

    But since being introduced six months ago, not one person has been caught in the act as a result of using the hi-tech devices.

    Yesterday (Mon) pet sitter Geraldine Walker-Potts, 45, said: “I’m not surprised they haven’t worked. What a waste of money.

    “I said at the time, they were a bit of a creepy idea. I don’t want to go out with the dogs in the dark knowing there’ s a man spying on me with night-vision goggles.

    “There must have been more cost-effective ways of addressing this problem. These guys aren’t SAS elite crack squads, they are just council wardens.”

    Painter and decorator Paul Morris, 32, who owns two golden retrievers, added: “Why are they investing money in expensive equipment like this? It is a bit bizarre really.

    “I can’t see the benefit. Dog fouling is an issue but if I saw a bloke looking at me through night-vision goggle I’d probably clock him one.”

    Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance added: “Everyone wants to see clean streets, but handing taxpayers the bill for this costly night-vision equipment will fail the smell test for many Stafford residents.

    “In their efforts to catch irresponsible dog owners, you could say that the council is giving local taxpayers something of a rough deal.”

    The operation has seen two officers monitoring hot spots with the goggles, including fields and football pitches, as part of their job which includes littering and fly tipping.

    In 2015, the authority handed out around half a dozen fixed penalty notices or taken prosecution action against dog owners.

    A council spokesman said “We don’t want to fine people. We want people to clean up after their dogs.

    “Nobody has been fined by us as a result of the night vision goggles.

    “But it seems they are proving a good deterrent as during our patrols, officers have reported that all the dog owners they have come across were cleaning up after their pets.”

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