Dog walkers who use Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton beaches are being told to clean up after their pets - and then take the waste with them.

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The warning comes from the Marine Conservation Society, which held a national Beachwatch Big Weekend last September and found the amount of dogs mess in bags being left on beaches had increased by 11 per cent annually.

There was better news overall, however, as overall rubbish levels had dropped by 11 per cent.

MCS Beachwatch Officer Lauren Davis said: “We’re delighted pet owners enjoy dog-friendly beaches and clearly think ahead by carrying poop scoop bags. But we hope our findings will now encourage them to take the bag off the beach and bin it in one of the many receptacles provided for the job.

“Leaving a bag full of poo on the beach will result in preserved excrement, protected from the elements for years by a bag which could take a long time to break down.”

The Big Weekend event saw a team of 130 volunteers collecting 26 bags of rubbish from Exmouth beach, and a handful of volunteers collecting bags in Budleigh Salterton.

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