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First trader fined under ‘Pedlars’ Act’

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Manchester town hall chiefs have won their first prosecution since bringing in new ‘pedlar’ legislation to clamp down on rogue street trading.

The Manchester City Council Act – widely known as the Pedlars’ Act – became law earlier this year following a £100,000 drive by the council. Under the Act, town hall officers are given greater powers to seize goods from people suspected of trading illegally.

Earlier this month, Tapha Lo became the first victim of the law and was forced to pay £1,100 after he was caught trading in Market Street, a busy spot in Manchester city centre.

The rules of a pedlars’ certificate allow holders to sell anywhere in the country as long as they move on regularly. But, under the new act, Manchester council won powers to seize goods from anyone caught selling from one spot for more than five minutes and therefore abusing the terms of the certificate.

Magistrates fined Mr Lo £525 for his offence and awarded £606 costs to the council after he was found guilty in his absence. The court also ordered the seizure of his goods and equipment.

Manchester council deputy leader, Coun Jim Battle, said: “Illegal street traders often sell shoddy goods, undermine hard-working legitimate traders and cause an obstruction on busy streets.

“The Manchester Act has given us the powers to deal with these issues and this prosecution should act as a warning to other illegal traders.”

Council bosses fought for the powers after complaining about the number of traders pitching stalls in busy shopping areas and flouting the terms of pedlars’ certificates to avoid buying more expensive street trader licences.

Pedlars groups, however, have expressed concern about how much discretion will be used in enforcing the new legislation, particularly the five-minute rule.

“Any certified pedlar still has the right – with some new provisions – to act as a pedlar in Market Street,” commented pedlar’s spokesman Robert Campbell-Lloyd. “The public has the right to ask why the council wasted the public purse.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

September 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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