UNDERCOVER officers are being deployed to clamp down on dog fouling and littering.

And Allerdale's street scene team is gathering evidence to catch repeat offenders red-handed.

Claire McAvoy, education and enforcement officer at Allerdale council, is heading a team of officers to put a halt on dog fouling and fly-tipping.

She visited Seaton Parish Council on Monday to ask councillors for help in identifying hot-spots and target known litterers.

And now she will visit other parish and town councils in the district to make sure the team is working effectively to tackle the problem.

Claire said: "We need information to catch the culprits, we're trying different methods to make sure we're effective."

She said the team had recently undergone a restructure and now the targeted approach was the preferred system.

She asked councillors to submit descriptions of irresponsible dog owners, where they are normally seen walking and when, so patrols can be sent. Those who fail to pick up after their dogs will be fined £50.

And Claire revealed she is in talks with McDonalds to tackle people throwing empty take-away containers, which is particularly serious problem around the Northside and Siddick area.

She said: "We want to put registrations on receipts so we can catch those who throw the empty containers out of their cars."

Councillors told Claire some of the hot-spots for dog fouling in Seaton included Quality Corner, the old railway line, Hunters Drive, the village hall and the rugby club.

Claire said: "To catch people in some of these areas I'll have to come in plain clothes with my dog or in running gear because they are difficult to police."

Councillor Julie Norman said she often chased villagers failing to pick up when she is out cycling around Seaton.

However Claire warned them of the dangers of confronting people. She said: "I've been spat at, I've had punches thrown at me, so you need to be careful when you approach them."

She added people must pick up dog muck whether they're on paths or grass, unless doing so could endanger them.

In the last couple of years Allerdale council stopped providing free dog pooh bags to residents.

However Claire said this has had no impact on the amount of dog fouling.

She added: "It's about changing people's behaviour, some people just can't take responsibility."

People can report dog fouling, littering and fly-tipping by using the MyAllerdale app.