A MUSICAL about the importance of clearing up dogmess is to tour Colchester primary schools as part of anewcouncil clampdownon dog fouling.

Poo the Musical may even see Colchester Council wardens taking leading roles as part of We’re Watching You, its latest anti-dog fouling blitz.

The show will be launched at the end of April and focus on schools close to places with particular dog fouling problems, such as Greenstead, Mersea and Monkwick.

If successful, it might also be taken out to local secondary schools.

The idea is to encourage pupils to take home the anti-dog-fouling message to pass to their parents.

The musical features old tunes such as Skip to my Lou and My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, with new lyrics and tells the story of Max the Mongrel, whose owners don’t clear up after him, spoiling his chances of hitting it off with Polly the Poodle.

As part of the wider campaign, parish councils, neighbourhood watch groups, dog clubs and residents’ associations are also being askedto keepaneyeonpeoplewho fail to pickupafter their pets.

Council zone wardens already havethepowertoissueon-the-spot fines to dog fouling offenders. A change in the lawmakes it easier for anyone to report a dog owner for dog fouling, leading to them gettinga£50 fine.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for community safety, explained:“Thelegislationusedto say you had to catch people in the act of letting their dog foul, but that has now been amended. If other people see them, youcan act on that aswell.”

Mr Young said the number of fines issued alreadywas relatively small–15 inthepast financial year – but he hoped the campaign would reduce it further.

It would be up to community groups and their members if they wanted to mount anti-dog fouling patrols to enforce the newlaws.

He added: “It is just being community- minded. We want to keep areas clean and free of dog mess .

That is not covert surveillance.

“It isbeingcommunity-minded.”

As part of the scheme, posters andbin stickers will putupinmore than 30 roads, alleyways, recreation and sports grounds and villages.

Between now and May, council officials will be patrolling the town early in themorningandlate in the evening.

Mr Young said: “Through increased enforcement and engagement, we’re letting the few dog owners who cause thi sproblem know they need to change this antisocialbehaviour– whatever time of day–or risk a fine.

“I encourage the majority of dog ownerswho do clean up after their pets, and all other Colchester groups and residents, to report to the council any instance of dog fouling they witness.”