LARNE councillors and Neighbourhood Watch volunteers have warned litter louts and irresponsible dog owners who let their pets foul in public places: “We are watching you.”
As part of a new bid to clean up the borough with the assistance of the public, Larne Council has launched the project to train Neighbourhood Watch team leaders in evidence gathering, which could enable council officers to issue fixed penalties for littering and dog fouling.
A recent training seminar in the Town Hall provided the team leaders with guidance on the evidence required for taking a case to court.
Participants were given instruction on how to approach and engage with the public and how to record what they see, to ensure the right details are captured.
The training also covered the legislative provisions in place, such as The Litter Order and The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act which will increase the cost of a fixed penalty.
There was also education on the council’s powers to obtain details; when an officer would caution an offender; and how formal interviews were carried out.
Philip Thompson, director of environmental services, said: “We appreciate and acknowledge the determination and leadership shown by our Neighbourhood Watch coordinators. These people have a pride in their area and wish to see the littering and dog fouling tackled and dealt with in a robust manner.
“Council staff are restricted in the hours and time of day in which they can patrol neighbourhoods but now these individuals, who live in these areas, will be able to increase our ability to detect offences.”
The Neighbourhood Watch coordinators were united in their message to the public: “We are watching you, so treat our areas with pride and respect.”