MORE than half of the tickets issued by the external enforcer brought in to tackle littering and dog fouling in the Borders remain unpaid.

And one Borders councillor admitted this week that the “war on dog fouling has been lost” adding that those flouting legislation are “sticking two fingers up to the law”.

Specialist enforcement team 3GS was awarded the pilot contract to beat the dog foulers and litter offenders in June 2016.

But out of the 146 £80 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued, only 71 have been paid.

3GS, a Hampshire-based firm which specialises in environmental and civil enforcement services, issued 113 tickets for dropped cigarette ends (63 paid), 14 for dog fouling (six paid), 11 for littering (one paid), six for spitting (one paid), one for dropping chewing gum (not paid) and two for food waste breaches (not paid).

Speaking us this week, Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall said: “It is quite clear from these figures that the current war on dog fouling has been lost. 

“This failed strategy belongs firmly at the door of the previous administration. When it is revealed that 113 tickets were issued for dropped cigarette ends compared to 14 for dog fouling it becomes quite clear that this strategy was never going to succeed.”

Councillor Marshall said that he is dismayed that £6,000 worth of fines remain unpaid, adding: “It appears that more time was spent challenging those who smoke rather than those who allow their dogs to create a public health issue. 

“It is a ridiculous situation. Offenders are sticking two fingers up to the law and that attitude needs to change. The amount of complaints I receive about dog fouling is at an all time high.”

“I have been assured that the council is intending to bring forward a new paper on the subject very soon. I, for one, can’t wait to see what it contains. I will support any action that convinces me that real enforcement will be taking place.”

And this week a Scottish Borders Council (SBC) spokesperson conceded that there will be no quick fix as several council departments are facing massive budget cuts over the next few months.

In a statement SBC said: “The council launched its Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy in February 2016, which aims to change people’s behaviour to dog fouling and to remind owners of their social and legal responsibilities.

“The strategy included two dog fouling and litter enforcement officers being appointed through an external firm to target problem areas as part of a pilot.

“The council carried out a series of communications to promote the strategy, including encouraging people to report dog fouling blackspots hence the rise in the number of reports in 2016.”

The statement added that while the council recognises the importance of the dog fouling problem but conceded that it is an issue the it can’t tackle on its own and particularly “when demand on public services is increasing while budgets are being squeezed”.

The statement continued: “Officers are now collating all the information from the enforcement pilot project and assessed potential future options, which will be included in a council report on the strategy which is due to be discussed by councillors in early 2018.