A rugby club has issued a plea for people to keep their dogs off the pitch after coaches were forced to pick up dog mess before a youth game could begin.

Coaches from Whitehaven Rugby Union Sharks had to clear up at least five bags of dog poo on Sunday morning.

Now they are asking the public not to walk dogs on the rugby field and are taking further action to tackle the problem.

Lee Jones, coach for Whitehaven RUFC Sharks, said: "This is the second time we are appealing to the local community to not walk their dogs on our playing fields and should they do so they must be on a lead and their muck picked up.

"Over the past number of weeks we have located dog muck on both of our pitches where adults and kids have been playing and training.

"We have over 100 youth players and two adult sides playing on a weekly basis and our volunteers are having to pick up after other people which is unfair and unhealthy.

"Dog muck carries many diseases and parasites including E-Coli, Salmonella, hookworm and tapeworms.

"These can cause serious illnesses to players if ingested or entered through an open wound."

As well as appealing on social media platforms, the rugby club is taking further measures, including the installation of CCTV and holding discussions with Copeland Borough Council's dog warden, who will be conducting regular inspections of the grounds.

Anybody found to be leaving dog poo on the fields will be fined.

Mr Jones added: "There are many other suitable places to walk your dogs in the area and I'm surprised that people are happy to put another person's health at risk due to their actions.

"Again, we plead to dog owners, please keep your dogs off our playing fields and always keep them on a lead."