Street traders could have goods seized

ILLEGAL street traders are today on notice that they could face the same fate of rogue sellers who had more £5,000 of goods seized.A multi-agency crackdown on unlicensed trading in Ipswich town centre has seen hundreds of items seized by police and trading standards officers.

ILLEGAL street traders are today on notice that they could face the same fate of rogue sellers who had more £5,000 of goods seized.

A multi-agency crackdown on unlicensed trading in Ipswich town centre has seen hundreds of items seized by police and trading standards officers.

Some traders have even had the trolleys they use to sell their goods confiscated.

The early results of the crackdown, dubbed Operation Holly, have left law enforcement agencies hailing the operation a major success.

Suffolk Police, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Partnership, which represents town centre businesses, joined forces for the operation aimed at clearing Ipswich's shopping district of illegal trading in the run-up to Christmas.

In the first stage of the crackdown officers used CCTV to monitor traders in the town centre and to gather evidence of licence breaches.

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Suffolk County Council trading standards officer Marc Titford said a number of traders with licences which require them to be constantly moving unless carrying out a sale had their goods seized during the first part of the crackdown.

Mr Titford said: "The conditions of the licence are you have to be constantly moving. They are allowed to stop only to make the transaction.

"We observed them on CCTV stationary for a period of an hour and we went in with the police.

"The local constabulary have got powers to seize goods relating to the stalls if a person is operating without a licence or outside their licence."

One trader had more than 500 mobile phone covers seized and subsequent investigations have found some of the covers to be in breach of trademark legislation.

Body jewellery and scarves were also among the items confiscated by police.

Helen Buckingham, from Ipswich Borough Council's Licensing and Enforcement Unit, added: "The quantity of goods seized so far suggests that Ipswich is being targeted by rogue traders.

"Some of the goods seized were of questionable quality which means that customers, legitimate street traders and retailers are being cheated. We are now examining our evidence and are preparing to instigate further crack-downs in the coming days and weeks in order to protect Ipswich shoppers in the run up to Christmas."

N Have you experienced problems with illegal traders in Ipswich town centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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