Parents cry foul over pitch mess

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A CITY playing field is to be kept locked to prevent dog fouling after a campaign from parents at a nearby school.

The parents of children at Trinity Academy feared their children's health was in danger because the pitches at Bangholm Recreation Ground, where pupils play rugby, were open to the public and dog walkers allowed their pets to use them as a toilet.

They put up their own "no fouling" signs to try to clean up the field but said their pleas to the authorities to help them fell on deaf ears for months.

However, after being contacted by the Evening News, Edinburgh Leisure, which manages the grounds, said that from next week it would lock the gates to the fields when they were not in use.

Alyson Cameron, who has sons aged 14 and 16 at the school, said she was worried about the dangers posed by toxicara worms, which can cause blindness if transferred from dog dirt to the human eye. She said: "The school has for a long time had problems with dogs fouling the pitch.

"The children play rugby there, which is a sport in which their faces get pushed to the ground. It's disgusting, and it's dangerous."

She said parents had twice met with council representatives in June to discuss the issue, and she had written in August but received no response.

Ms Cameron said she felt both the council and Edinburgh Leisure were responsible for solving the problem: "It's the council's children and families department that obliges children to play rugby there as part of their PE and they don't care anything about the health and safety for the kids or for the teachers. We've had no problem with the school whatsoever, they've been extremely helpful."

A council spokesman said the land was managed by Edinburgh Leisure and that a council environmental officer had been sent to patrol the area after complaints about dog mess, but had not seen any offenders.

Forth ward councillor Cammy Day said he had met with representatives of the council and Edinburgh Leisure a month ago and was angry that the problem was still unresolved at the start of this week: "It's everybody's fault but nobody's taking responsibility for it. If we want our kids to take part in PE in a safe environment we have to have no dog fouling in the park."

After the Evening News contacted Edinburgh Leisure, a spokesman said: "Since taking over the management in April this year, Edinburgh Leisure have monitored the dog fouling situation. To overcome the problem we have decided that the facility will remain locked and will only be accessible when being used for sporting activities."