Illegal street-traders can be a real nuisance in Brighton. But an even bigger problem is presented by the ‘legal’ pedlars who have a licence but sell fake or substandard goods at cut-down prices. Many of them even sell stolen goods.
As we move into summer the warmer weather will bring these people out in droves. They are particularly attracted to resort towns such as Brighton where they can guarantee rich pickings from the millions of tourists who visit each year. Sadly though they are diverting the tourist pound from the legitimate businesses that prop up Brighton’s economy. Some pedlars sell the same goods as certain shops but because they don’t have to pay rents, rates and other overheads they can sell for a fraction of the retail price and still make a handsome profit.
The pedlars use black bin bags or wheeled trolleys to sell goods such as fake designer clothes, bags, jewellery and mobile phone covers. They exploit an outdated law from 1871, and it is very difficult for local councils and police to move them on.
Councils are now calling for the power to designate where pedlars can trade and for greater authority to confiscate goods being peddled. They also recommend the whole pedlar licensing system be overhauled.
It will take some time to move from this initial action to a change in the law. In the meantime Brighton traders are proposing to include a security patrol as part of the city centre Business Improvement District (BID). Security guards will be trained to interrogate street traders to ascertain their legal position and move them on as appropriate. To ensure that this project goes ahead traders must vote Yes in the referendum before 26 May 2006.
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Illegal Street Trading
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