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Coach on ‘poo patrol’ wants football pitches in Bury St Edmunds protected by fences

St Edmundsbury Borough Council forest ranger Mark Stewart, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and football coach Mark Stiff with rubbish collected from Oakes Road field in just 10 minutes

St Edmundsbury Borough Council forest ranger Mark Stewart, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and football coach Mark Stiff with rubbish collected from Oakes Road field in just 10 minutes

A football coach who is fed up with going on ‘poo patrol’ before matches is calling on the council to fence off youth pitches in Bury St Edmunds.

Mark Stiff, FA licensed coach and chairman of CFC Bury football club, is keen to have fences installed around pitches in Northumberland Avenue and Oakes Road, like the ones in place at Hardwick Heath.

Of the Oakes Road field - which is used by two under 12 teams in the Ipswich and Suffolk Youth League and two adult teams in the Bury and District Sunday League - he said he had often spent 15-20 minutes clearing up after ‘irresponsible dog owners’ so matches could get underway.

“It’s a matter of child safety and health and safety for everybody,” he said, adding that litter at Oakes Road was also a problem.

“It’s frustrating - every Sunday morning you try and run the clubs and you think ‘I don’t want to have to clear that up’. It’s just not on.”

Soiled items of players’ kits have had to be thrown away and games have been interrupted for clean-ups.

“They’re not called dog ‘mess’ corner (in Oakes Road) and dog ‘mess’ hill (in Northumberland Avenue) for nothing,” said Mr Stiff.

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger said requests for fencing had been turned down, but a plan had been devised to try and tackle the problem.

As well as arranging more visits by an enforcement officer from the borough council, the plan includes setting up a ‘name and shame’ scheme and having park rangers hand out ‘no dog fouling’ leaflets, issue bags and talk about the threat of reporting offenders.

“All we are asking is that litter and dog mess is placed into the bins provided so that the footballers can play safely without fear of falling into dog mess or litter,” said Cllr Hopfensperger, adding that waste management was aware of concerns about bins not being emptied frequently enough.

 

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