Pride Hill, Shrewsbury art seller prosecuted
Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing service has brought a successful prosecution under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, which makes it an offence to trade in the street without the appropriate authorisation.
The council responded to intelligence that an individual was repeatedly selling their wares on Pride Hill, Shrewsbury without a licence. As a result officers from Shropshire Council and West Mercia Police provided written and verbal advice to the trader on four separate occasions in an effort to change their behaviour.
Stephen Hooker of Brookside, Telford, who regularly sells paintings of various Shropshire landmarks throughout the county, pleaded guilty to three offences of engaging in street trading in a licensed street, without having obtained the appropriate authorisation. In mitigation, Mr Hooker’s representative claimed that Mr Hooker had thought he was operating under the authority of a pedlars certificate, despite receiving advice to the contrary in December 2017 and again in February, March and May 2018.
Upon hearing that Mr Hooker had now accepted he was not peddling, and that he would change his approach going forward, the court passed a sentence of a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay a total of £300 in costs.
Grant Tunnadine, investigations team manager, said:
“It is unfortunate that the information and warnings issued to Mr Hooker were ignored and that he failed to accept much sooner that he was breaching street trading legislation, leaving the service with no alternative but to investigate and institute legal proceedings. This prosecution sends a clear message to street traders looking to circumvent the law that, whilst we will always seek to assist traders by providing the necessary advice and guidance, if they choose to ignore us we will not hesitate to escalate enforcement.”
Mandy Beever, licensing team manager, advised:
“The licensing team is always available to provide advice and guidance and I would urge anyone who is considering street trading to seek that advice before they commence any trading activity.”
Mandy Beever added:
“I would also like to remind the public of the difference between someone who is street trading and requires a street trading consent or licence, and someone who is peddling and therefore requires a pedlars certificate.
“A pedlar is a person who trades whilst on foot. Pedlars can travel from door to door, place to place and town to town. However, a pedlar must not take up a static position for longer than the time necessary to affect a sale; once the sale has been made they must move on and continue to move until someone approaches to make a purchase. To trade as a pedlar a pedlars certificate is required, and these are issued by the police.
A trader is street trading if they sell (or offer for sale) any article, on a road, footway, beach or other area to which the public have access without payment and stays stationary for longer than the time required to make a sale. This activity requires either a street trading consent or licence depending on the area and is prohibited on some streets all together.”
Joyce Barrow, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, waste and regulatory services, added:
“Following extensive consultation in 2017, the council’s Strategic Licensing Committee approved a new Street Trading Policy that was implemented on 1 April 2018. Through effective enforcement of the policy, the council aims to create a street trading environment which complements premises-based trading, is sensitive to the needs of the public, provides diversity and consumer choice, and enhances the character, ambience and safety of local environments for people who live, work and visit in Shropshire. Whilst recognising the important contribution that street trading brings to supporting local businesses and the growth and prosperity of Shropshire’s economy, it is also vital that the council takes steps to reduce any potential harm or exploitation which could occur through street trading. To this end, the proper licensing of street traders is key to ensuring that only legitimate traders set up stalls in our streets. We will not allow those individuals who believe they can operate outside the law and undermine the council’s aims to get away with it and I am extremely pleased that, on this occasion, the court supported this position.”
Traders wishing to seek advice on street trading can do so by contacting the licensing team on 0345 678 9026 or by visiting the Shropshire Council website www.shropshire.gov.uk/licensing. If anyone has concerns about the way in which street traders are operating in Shropshire, information can be given anonymously to the service on 0345 678 9026 and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.
The Council’s Street Trading Policy 2018 – 2023 is available at: