'Easy target' claim over new Conwy dog wardens

The dog and litter wardens started work in December The dog and litter wardens started work in December

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New dog and litter wardens in Conwy county borough are being criticised for concentrating on easy targets and not tackling problems in rural areas.

The officers work for a private firm and started patrols in December last year.

But in the first two months, just one fixed penalty ticket was issued for dog fouling, compared to over 500 to people dropping litter.

The council said results were going in the right direction.

But Graham Rees, who is a member of Conwy council's cabinet, said the wardens were "taking the quick hits".

He questioned whether the wardens were dealing with the dog fouling problem, and said they were neglecting rural areas of the county.

Start Quote

We need to get these people away from the comfort zones of the big towns like Llandudno and Colwyn Bay ”

End Quote Councillor Graham Rees

Mr Rees said: "If you go down Mostyn Street in Llandudno, you see them standing outside Marks and Spencer, and if you drop litter, you've got a fixed penalty for £75. That's what they've been concentrating on.

"We need to get these people away from the comfort zones of the big towns like Llandudno and Colwyn Bay and get them up into the rural areas, because we do have a problem with dog fouling here."

'Early on'

Mr Rees said the presence of wardens was needed to assure the community there was a control of the issue.

Under the contract between private company Xfor and Conwy council, Xfor keeps £45 from every £75 fixed penalty notice that is handed out.

Both the council and Xfor say this is mainly to cover costs. Managers at the council decide where the wardens should be deployed.

Conwy is one of five areas of Wales which have started working with Xfor, along with Blaenau Gwent, Denbighshire, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

There has been criticism of the arrangement in other areas, though other councils have stressed that the contracts have helped reduce the problem of litter and dog mess.

Peter Brown, head of regulatory services at Conwy council, said that the council would be deploying the wardens to other parts of the county.

"It is early on in the new system," he said.

"Staff are monitoring results, but so far the statistics are going in the right direction."

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