North Devon could soon become a ‘giant dog toilet’ as dog bins across the district look set to be removed.

J and J Bins, which empties more than 230 dog bins across the district for parish councils and the likes of Saunton Beach Estates, will cease trading at the end of March due to rising costs.

Parish councils including Fremington and Braunton have been left scrambling for a solution as they look for alternatives.

Fremington Parish Council, which has 35 bins, said it had no other option but to take the bins down as it was unable to find a contractor to empty them, and no resources to carry out collections itself.

Braunton Parish Council is set to meet on Monday, when it will consider carrying out its own collections. Chairman Derrick Spear said the council was 'very annoyed' the decision had been made at such short notice, and warned a lot of parish councils would be affected.

Justin Mayhew, who has carried out J and J Bins' service for 14 years, said he was no longer able to take the waste to the North Devon Council Environment Centre at Brynsworthy, and the cost of alternatives was too high.

He wrote to customers to say a 'historic agreement' with North Devon Council (NDC) had been terminated. However, the council said it has never had such an arrangement in place.

Mr Mayhew feared the removal of the red bins would lead to North Devon becoming inundated with dogs' mess.

"I've explored all the avenues and can't go any further," he said.

"People are creatures of habit, if you take the bins down they will chuck it where it was. We've had it when we've relocated bins before.

"I think it's a shame for North Devon, if it doesn't get sorted it's going to be a giant dog toilet."

NDC, which collects from bins in Ilfracombe and Combe Martin, said it would approach parish councils with a proposal to join its collections, but warned there would be a cost.

NDC's head of operational services, Ricky McCormack, said: "We understand that various parish councils may have entered into a contract with J and J Bins to collect waste from dog waste bins managed by parish councils but that these arrangements are now being brought to an end by the company for various reasons.

"NDC does have a contract to empty our own dog litter bins but we don't have the capacity or funds to take on this additional work.

"Therefore we are approaching parish councils to see if they would be interested in coming under this contract and paying the additional costs that would be incurred to collect from their dog litter bins."