A new clean up campaign from North Devon Council is working to spread the message that it’s ‘a crime not to care’.

The Gazette has joined forces with the council to help promote its Clear Messages campaign encouraging people to respect the environment and help keep the district clean.

The initiative will run throughout this year and aims to spread awareness of the environment as well as highlight issues such as litter, fly-tipping, dog’s mess and abandoned vehicles.

In the coming months we will be focussing on the different issues and what local people can do to help.

The council wants to make its environmental protection team more visible and highlight the role of its neighbourhood officers, who are responsible for tackling the issues across the area.

They are also the dog wardens - handling dog control issues, micro-chipping and picking up lost and stray dogs across the district.

Councillor Rodney Cann, member for the environment, said: “Our Clear Messages campaign is about making it clear that we are all responsible for looking after our environment and we’re really pleased that the North Devon Gazette is going to help us spread the word.

“Environmental crimes will not be tolerated and as a council we will prosecute those responsible, but we can’t work alone – we need North Devon residents to help us keep North Devon clear of litter, fly-tipping, dog’s mess and abandoned vehicles.”

The neighbourhood officers have new highly visible vans and will be attending local events throughout the year as well as working with local councils and groups to try to make a difference.

Neighbourhood officer Ray Jones, said: “There’s a lot of pride in North Devon for our beautiful coastline and countryside, but not everyone treats the area with respect.

“Our role isn’t just about enforcing the rules and making prosecutions, we want to support local communities to be more proactive and change attitudes to environmental crimes through education and advice.”

If you have an environmental issue in your area or would like to report fly-tipping, littering, dog fouling, abandoned vehicles and other environmental issues, get in touch at www.northdevon.gov.uk/environment or call 01271 388870.