Pedlars - people who supposedly trade on the move but more often than not are static - could face regulation by local authorities and instant fines if they flout the rules.
Traditionally, pedlars were door-to-door salespeople selling their handicrafts under rules established in 1871. They are supposed to “trade as they travel”. They can only stop in one place for a maximum of 15 minutes and sell only what they can carry or cart around.
They are licensed by the local police and, once in possession of the licence which costs about £12, they can trade for up to a year almost anywhere in the country.
But a number of councils have been attempting to secure private acts of parliament to clear them from busy shopping areas, arguing that they are unregulated, ride on the back of established retailers paying rent and rates and contribute little to the shopping experience. Trading standards officers have also raised concerns about customer rights and consumers often struggle to get their money back if the pedlars sell shoddy goods. Pedlars also often clash with legitimate street traders who pay licences costing up to £100/week from local councils.
Now the government wants to update the 1871 licensing rules and under government plans, pedlars could be licensed by local authorities rather than the police and a national database could be set up with on-the-spot fines rather than expensive prosecutions for those breaking the law.
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