Clampdown on pedlars a success

A ZERO tolerance policy, which led to the confiscation of more than 1,000 items from illegal street pedlars, was hailed as a success today.Traders in Ipswich were determined there would be no repeat of the problems that blighted the town in 2003 in the run up to Christmas 2004.

A ZERO tolerance policy, which led to the confiscation of more than 1,000 items from illegal street pedlars, was hailed as a success today.

Traders in Ipswich were determined there would be no repeat of the problems that blighted the town in 2003 in the run up to Christmas 2004.

Along with borough council staff, police and Suffolk County Council's trading standards officers, they organised sweeps of the town to purge it of Del Boy-style street sellers.

Paul Clement, head of Ipswich Partnership which represents shops in the town, believes the clampdown showed Ipswich is not a soft touch for unlicensed traders.


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He said: "In our opinion it was extremely successful. A whole host of retailers have told us that before and since the Christmas period, they saw little evidence of illegal street trading and as a result their stores did not suffer.

"The biggest thing it has done is send a strong message out via their (the pedlars) own networks that it is not worth bothering with Ipswich.

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"It was a zero tolerance police and a very large amount of stock was seized and held. "

Earlier this week some of the pedlars were allowed to return to Ipswich and collect their confiscated property from a storage unit. It is only illegal for them to trade and not illegal for them to have the goods but the confiscation stopped them trading during the Christmas period.

However bags of counterfeit phone covers and socks seized by trading standards officers will not be returned.

Manager of the Buttermarket shopping centre Colin Roberts also felt the festive purge, codenamed Operation Holly, had been effective.

He said: "I was delighted. It was an improvement over Christmas.

"It's a good start. We need to continue the effort, which I know is the plan. "Ipswich Borough Council and the police should be highly praised for their actions and the way they embraced the whole crackdown."

Mr Roberts added pedlars have a big effect on shops' takings as they have no overheads and undercut the stores.

Although he believes the problem is unlikely to be resolved by just one operation, Mr Roberts is optimistic others will follow during the peak times such as Easter and other special occasions.

Jill Korwin, assistant county trading standards officer said: "The operation was a great success. More than a thousand counterfeit items were seized which ensured consumers were not duped into buying sub standard goods.

"A formal investigation is being carried out and appropriate action will follow. Another success of the operation was the way in which like minded organisations worked together to gain the greatest impact - there is sure to be more of the same.

"Anyone with information regarding counterfeit or unsafe goods can contact Suffolk Trading Standards advice line on 01473 584358."

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