DOG FOULING on a town's sports pitches have become so bad, poo bags have become part of a junior football club's kit.

A public spaces protection order (PSPO) was introduced by Flintshire Council in 2017 in order to exclude dogs from entering certain places across the county, including marked sports pitches.

Video by Rick Matthews / Steve Craddock

Two of the areas affected are Elfed School Grounds and The Flash in Buckley, which are used by Buckley Town Junior Football Club.

Kevin Holden, chairman of the club, told the Leader that despite the ban his coaches still have to spend time checking the fields for dog muck before games and practice sessions.

He said: "We've got 300 children aged four to 16 and we use these pitches every night for training and for matches every weekend.

"Every day when we come down we have to do a full scour of the area to make sure it is free of dog mess for the kids.

"It is not a joke - poo bags are now part of the kit. We are so fed up."

He explained some members of the public have made their disagreement with the ban known to his coaches, adding: "We have been setting up on the pitch and there are dogs running over to us, running where the kids are playing.

"I am a dog owner myself and it is common sense: if you see a bunch of children you put your dog on a lead at the very least.

"We have had confrontations with people and I have told them all we're not saying to people pick it up, we're saying here is a bag for you.

"It is not something coaches should be getting into.

"At the end of the day we're all volunteers and we all give our time to coach these children.

"We're having to spend time going around and picking up everyone else's dog poo."

Mr Holden said there have been several incidents of children falling into the dog muck, on some occasions resulting in the child affected being taken out of play and even in one case being taken home.

He added he has concerns over the impact the mess could have on the children's health.

Mr Holden said: "We have to provide a safe environment for the children to play football - poo carries disease.

"A child could become very ill by falling in this foul."

Asked what he feels can be done to crack down on the issue, Mr Holden added: "I have sympathy with the council because they have signs.

"Yes you can make them more visible so what is the next step?

"The ban, which is in place now - there is no other way of governing it unfortunately."

A pair of drop-in consultation sessions about the PSPO at these two sites will take place from 9.30am to 11.30am and then from 3.30pm to 6.30pm today (Monday) at Hawkesbury Community Centre.

Flintshire Council has been asked to comment on the concerns.