A PRIVATE company has been hired by Halton Council to tackle dog fouling and littering in a six month pilot scheme.

Enforcement officers from 3GS UK Ltd will be patrolling shopping areas, parks and neighbourhoods across Runcorn and Widnes, during the day, weekends and evenings.

They will target known ‘blackspots’ highlighted last week by World readers.

An £80 fixed penalty notice will be issued to anyone who fails to clear up after their dog or drops litter.

Halton Clr Ron Hignett, board member for the physical environment, said: “We want to provide our residents and members of the business community with a pleasant and safe environment.

“This pilot initiative is being introduced to deter environmental offences. It should not be seen in any way as heavy handed enforcement.

"The council’s approach to preventing environmental crime has always been to persuade people to act responsibly through education and communication and we will continue to do that.

“However, the Council has a responsibility to protect members of our community who are affected by environmental crime and we will take enforcement action against those individuals who commit litter and dog fouling offences”.

The council spends more than £1 million every year cleaning the borough.

It is hoped that by reducing the amount of litter and dog fouling, it will allow the authority to spend some of this money on more important services.