A SENIOR councillor is calling on her Tory colleagues to do more to combat dogs’ mess on the streets of Southend.

Anna Waite, who is battling to be re-elected in St Luke’s ward next month, has handed in a petition to the council on behalf of residents, signed by about 240 people.

Her petition calls for the council to take dog fouling “more seriously” by providing more bins, more signs, issuing more penalties and more patrols by council officers.

Mrs Waite insists she is not criticising the Tory administration, but wants the issue looked at more closely.

She said: “I’ve spoken to Tony Cox, the councillor responsible for waste, and he assured me he will take it very seriously in view of the number of people who have signed it.

“Council staff do a good job and I’m not saying they are ignoring the issue, but we need to raise the profile of dog muck.

“I would like to see more people prosecuted for this.”

However, rival candidates in the ward have wondered why Mrs Waite’s Tory colleagues on the council have not done more about it already.

They agreed it was one of the biggest issues on the doorsteps, but demanded firm action rather than a petition. Paul van Looy, the independent candidate, said: “The problem’s been there quite a few years and it’s getting worse.

“Residents want to see some more bins for dogs mess in the St Luke’s area.

“You don’t need a petition. Get some bins in there. You need more dog wardens. People are getting fed up with it.”

Anne Jones, the Labour candidate, also said more bins and dog wardens are needed and called for more enforcement of existing legislation.

She said: “You need to get to the owners and make appropriate facilities available.

“It’s easy to start a petition, but less easy to come up with a solution to the problem. The legislation is there, but it hasn’t been enforced appropriately at any time.”

The other candidates standing in St Luke’s ward are Lib Dem Paul Case, Cristian Ramis for the Green Party, independent Tony Chytry and Alisdair Lewis for the BNP.