"WE'RE watching you".

That's the message from Cornwall Council and Keep Britain Tidy in a new campaign designed to shame errant dog owners into picking up after their pooch.

The council says that it is estimated that one in every ten owners doesn't pick up their dog's mess.

And now a new initiative being trialled in 12 areas – including Falmouth and Camborne – plans to make that ten per cent feel uneasy.

A new poster features a pair of piercing eyes that actually glow in the dark – and the ‘We’re watching you’ message has already been proven to reduce incidents of dog fouling on pavements, parks, paths, playgrounds and other public spaces in other parts of the country.

Countering dog fouling is high on Cornwall Council’s anti-litter agenda and the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued has jumped from 17 in 2018/19 to 84 in 2019/20, it said.

Almost 2,000 high-visibility dog fouling patrols have been carried out since 2016, while 100 town and parish councils have been trained in using a new 'no contact report card' which makes dog fouling easier to report.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public protection, Rob Nolan, said: “Dog poo is unsightly, it’s a nuisance, and it’s a health hazard; 90 per cent of dog owners take the responsible approach and go on dog walks equipped to clean up.

"But on these dark winter evenings some unscrupulous people think they don’t need to take the trouble, as they think they won’t be observed. Not so! Now our luminous eyes posters should make them think twice.

"If reported they could face a £100 fixed penalty, or prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.

“This summer we are extending the months when dogs can be walked on beaches, so more than ever we need to adopt a no-tolerance approach to dog mess. No excuses, everyone must come up to the standard of the responsible majority of dog owners.”

It seems the pupils of Lanner School near Redruth agree with Cllr Nolan.

Lanner is one of a dozen dog-walking ‘hot spots’ where Cornwall Council is testing the poster campaign.

Comments from pupils asked by the council included: “I think it’s the owners’ fault because the dogs can’t pick up their own poo!” and “Can you please pick up your dog’s poo because if it gets in children’s eyes it can make them blind.”

The campaign has already reduced dog fouling by up to 75 per cent in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and other places, according to a Keep Britain Tidy report.

If it proves effective in 12 test sites – which include Falmouth, Lanner, Chacewater, Camborne and Penzance – Cornwall Council will look at rolling it out more widely, providing signs and monitoring forms to more town and parish councils and also to interested community groups.