DOG mess will get the Essex spray-tan treatment in a bid to shame irresponsible owners.

Council officers will patrol areas where dog fouling is a particular problem and spray-paint any poo they see orange – and leave it like that for two weeks.

It is hoped the bizarre project will shock dog owners into changing their bad habits and clean up after their pets.

Keith Gordon, the Rochford councillor in charge of the environment, said: “We want to send the message that dog fouling is unacceptable.

“Not only is it the most offensive litter on our streets, but it can be dangerous.

“It can lead to an infection calledtoxocariasis if it enters the human system and young children are most at risk of this disease. We hope this unusual approach will finally get the message through to irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their dog.”

Areas that will be targeted include Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park, Rochford Recreation Ground, Lever Lane alleyway and North Street.

The move is part of the “Love Rochford District” campaign, which has been running this summer with the aim of informing residents about environmental crimes, such as dog fouling and littering.

The council spent almost £700,000 on contractors last year to help keep the streets clean.

It is a sum Mr Gordon says the council would like to see greatly reduced by education – and, if needs be, by enforcement.

If mess has to be cleared outside of the street teams’ operating hours, it can cost the council almost £100 a day.

The orange poo plan has been dismissed by the Lib Dem leader on the council Chris Black.

He said: “It’s a surprising initiative, which I’m almost lost for words with.

“If it reminds dog owners not to leave the mess, then great, but I doubt it will make any difference.

“What we need is more dog bins, but people don’t like them outside their houses, so that’s something that can’t be done.

“One answer would be to spray the dog owners orange. That might make them think twice about what they are doing!”