COMMUNITY leaders got their own back on the vandals who leave dog dirt on Middlewich’s towpaths.

A stark message was left for irresponsible dog owners - in flourescent purple.

Middlewich Clean Team joined forces with Streetscape, British Waterways and the Community Dog Wardens and armed themselves with spray paint and stencils.

The unusual awareness campaign, which took place at The Moorings, was to highlight the blight that dog fouling is creating along the town’s towpaths.

Eight piles of dog dirt were found alongside the children’s play area and a message in paint was left alongside each one saying ‘clean it up’.

“It shows how bad the problem is at the moment,” said Janet Chisholm, founder of the Clean Team.

“I hope it raises awareness to the minority of dog walkers who are irresponsible.”

Boater Anne Golding added: “I think it’s a really good idea. I got off my boat this morning and almost stood straight into dog dirt.

“It’s frustrating because it gives us dog walkers a bad name. It’s a nice area and it’s such a shame to spoil it.”

The special spray paint is chalk based and lasts for around six weeks.

Cheshire East Council has already rolled out the initiative in Crewe and Stapeley.

Caroline Griffies, Streetscape officer, said: “We’re still getting a ridiculous number of calls about dog fouling.

“Middlewich is a good area to keep an eye on for this project as it has a good community group who can give us feedback.”

Bernice Walmsley, chairman of Middlewich Community Pride, said: “There’s no such thing as a bad dog, just an irresponsible owner. I hope this highlights the problem.”

Dog walkers make 75 million visits to British Waterways to canals and rivers each year.

Karen Jackson, senior environmental scientist for British Waterways, said: “Hopefully the shocking sight of dog fouling highlighted by spray paint will remind pet owners of the awful mess it has on our environment.”