CHILDREN are being urged to encourage parents and other people in the area to pick up after their dogs to avoid fines and keep the area clean.

Hyndburn Council dog warden Jane Grady visited St Bartholomew's Primary School in Great Harwood to speak to pupils about the dangers of failing to pick up after their dogs.

She also warned pupils about an increase in reports of dangerous dogs in the area and encouraged them to tell parents to report any incidents they see.

Mrs Grady said: "It's definitely a problem in the area.

"It was interesting to see when we asked if anyone had ever stepped in dog waste, everyone put their hands up.

"The issue is getting better, anyone getting caught is being handed out a fixed penalty notice.

"We've had a lot more members of the public helping and reporting people responsible.

"But we have seen more incidents of dangerous dogs in the area, it's unacceptable.

"It's not just dogs attacking other dogs or people, it can just be there mannerisms.

"The children all seemed to really enjoy it."

The council dog warden said there has been 186 complaints of people failing to pick up after their dogs in the last year.

She also said there has been 48 reports of dangerous dogs in the last year.

People found guilty of failing to control their dogs can be issued with community protection orders or even have their pet seized.

Mrs Grady warned anyone caught failing to pick up after their dog will receive an on the spot fine of £75.

People across Hyndburn can also get free bags to encourage them to pick up after their pets.

Area beat manager PC Dave Render, who works closely with the council dog warden. also attended the talk.

One pupil was also given the chance to dress up as mascot 'Harry the Hyndburn Hound'.

School headteacher Mark Mackley said the talk was very informative for pupils and sends out an important message.

He said: "It was very light-hearted, very amusing, but a very serious issue.

"It is important so that the parks and open spaces in our area are kept clean and safe.

"We need to make sure the area's free from dog waste so the whole community can enjoy it at its best.

"The children will be able to take the message back to their homes and families to encourage everyone to clean up after dogs.

"It is great to work with the council and local police to organise these sort of talks."