Dog poo crusader Andrew Hawes
Dog poo crusader Andrew Hawes BBC

A dog poo vigilante, who dresses in camouflage and hides in bushes in order to catch people who have not cleared up after their pets, has been trained to help snare offenders.

Andrew Hawes, a lorry driver and father of four, began his crusade against dog mess after being fed up by the amount of people who failed to clear up after their dogs.

He used his holiday time to stake out areas near his home in Leiston, Suffolk in order to clamp down on the antisocial behaviour and was interviewed by the BBC in early August.

After his initiative was publicised, he told the broadcaster that officers from Environmental Health and Suffolk Police had given him training in handling situations.

"Now they've told me it's not against the law, I'm really going to go after them," he told the BBC on 15 August. "I'm going big on it now. I've got personalised T-shirts and everything."

The personalised T-shirts (and other assorted merchandise) are already on show at the Leiston Dog Mess Name & Shame Facebook page, which has over 1,200 members and includes Hawes' warning to would-be offenders: "Bin your poo – I'm watching you."

Hawes posted an update on the page on 14 August, writing: "I have been trained on how to record and report offences, and as for film or photographic evidence, it can be used as well as I am a member of public in a public place."

The campaign has even earned a thumbs-up from movie star Hugh Grant, who posted a link to it on Twitter with the caption: "my hero."

"If they don't clear up after their dog I'll pop out of the hedge and say 'excuse me, could you please clean up after your dog'," Hawes told the BBC on 4 August.

"You're being filmed, if you clean up the film will be deleted straight away – if not you'll be posted on my Facebook page for people to identify and then you'll be reported to the police'," he said.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said they were working with police to report the incidents correctly.

"While we appreciate the assistance of the public when dealing with these incidents, we must ensure that members of the community do so safely and that evidence is recorded appropriately so we can act on any incidents," she said.