POLICE community support officers are to join Blackburn with Darwen Council's fight against dog muck.

Environment boss Jim Smith revealed he has been in talks to get the 50-plus PCSOs involved in the battle to keep the borough’s streets and parks clean and safe.

He told the council executive board of the plan as it approved new controls on dogs in children’s play areas, cemeteries, church grounds and sports fields.

Coun Smith said the new controls were part of the borough’s drive to see irresponsible dog owners who allowed their animals to foul streets and parks caught and fined.

He appealed to other residents and responsible pet owners to report offenders.

Coun Smith said: “We have three dog wardens but we are keen to get PCSOs involved. That would mean another 50- plus officers keeping an eye on dog fouling.

“We have run campaigns designed to shock on this issue in Marsh House and Mill Hill which have been well received. I hope to extend these across the borough. Dog muck is horrible and a real problem.”

The proposals will ban all dogs, except guide dogs, from all 45 enclosed play areas. It will become an offence not to keep a dog on a lead in 10 cemeteries, church precincts and burial grounds, including the Cathedral Close.

On eight more playing fields, officials will be able to order owners to put their dogs on a lead on pain of a £75 fine.

Borough leader Kate Hollern said: “I am happy that dogs will not be allowed in play areas and will have to be kept on leads in church yards and burial grounds.”

Tory opposition leader Mike Lee also backed the action.