A councillor has hit out at pet owners dumping bags of dog poo at a popular tourist spot.
Residents of Newburgh expressed their anger after dog walkers ditched bags of excrement at Newburgh beach, despite bins being installed at the site.
Councillor Richard Thomson, who represents Ellon and District, said: “I have been made aware of the dog-fouling problem through social media.
“Newburgh beach is a fantastic natural asset to the area which is very popular with both locals and visitors.
“There is no excuse for dumping bags of dog poo as it is very easy to remember to take bags with you.
“Anyone who owns a dog should be responsible enough to pick up after them.
“The real difficulty is catching people doing it, which is why self-policing is the best kind of policy.”
He added: “Newburgh beach is very popular with children and nobody wants it to become a health hazard.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Ron MacDonald, from Newburgh Green Dog Walkers, helped to install bag dispensers at the beach following a grant from Aberdeenshire Council.
He said: “It’s so disappointing to see dog fouling happening on the boardwalk at Newburgh beach. It is a very popular place and people come from near and far to visit.
“It’s not as if there aren’t facilities there for dog walkers to use. I’m retired and I fill the dispensers with bags every day. They have been installed for three years and we have other ones in the area which seem to be effective.”
It is illegal under the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act for someone in charge of a dog not to remove and dispose of waste and a fixed penalty notice of £80 can be handed out to those caught.
Ron added: “I don’t think the threat of fines is working. It’s about being a responsible dog owner and changing your behaviour.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said: “Although there are a number of officers who are authorised to serve fixed penalty notices, it can be very difficult to gather the necessary evidence, as people often don’t want to be a witness against someone in their local community.
“Add to that the fact that many of the complaints we receive are of a general nature, simply referring to a problem area rather than identifying an individual, can make it very difficult to identify and take action against individuals.
“As a council we look to education as a response to dog fouling and encourage dog owners to participate in Green Dog Walking Schemes.
“Ultimately it is the responsibility of dog owners to ensure they clean up after their pets.”