No action to be taken against dog mess row minister

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A Government minister today admitted rowing with a train passenger who complained after her dog fouled a railway platform.

Solicitor General Vera Baird was embroiled in a confrontation at King's Cross railway station in central London.

The Redcar MP said her new puppy was unwell and made a mess on a platform which she was unable to clear up.

Mrs Baird, a well-known dog lover who won the annual Westminster Dog of the Year competition in 2004, said she asked cleaning staff for help.

But a mother with her young child confronted the senior politician over the mess and an angry row ensued.

British Transport Police (BTP) were called to the scene by worried bystanders and a Community Support Officer (PCSO) spoke to both women.

An investigation took place, in which CCTV was examined and witness statements taken, to see if any offences had been committed.

It is an offence if an owner does not clean up after their dog has fouled public land. The fine is usually a £50 fixed penalty notice.

Sources said police also considered a public order offence of causing "harassment, alarm or distress." This criminal offence carries a maximum fine of £1,000.

But after a six-week investigation, in which senior officers were consulted, the decision was made to take no further action.

Speaking today, Mrs Baird, 58, played down the row and denied she said "don't you know who I am?" to the PCSO.

She said: "My new puppy was unwell and made a mess on the platform at King's Cross some weeks ago.

"A member of the public complained to me and she and I had an argument. As it ended, a PCSO arrived and spoke to me. I complained to the BTP about his attitude.

"I have received an apology from the BTP and as far as I am concerned the matter is closed."

She added: "The incident is unrecognisable as described and the words I am alleged to have said at the scene were never said."

A BTP spokeswoman said: "BTP was called to King's Cross rail station around 5.15pm on Sunday, October 25 after a report of an altercation between two women near to one of the station's platforms.

"A passenger complained to another passenger, whose dog had fouled on a platform. This led to an altercation, which BTP subsequently investigated.

"Following this investigation, a decision was taken not to proceed further."