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Street trading must be made ‘fraud-free’ – Leonard

3 October, 2007

Sinn councillor Billy Leonard has said that Coleraine Council's Street Trading policy must make the whole street trading scene "fraud-free and stringently against those who abuse the system."

Leonard was speaking after Coleraine Council received a preliminary report about progress on a new Street Trading policy in the Borough. However, he stressed that he is speaking about the few bad-apples and in defence of the majority of traders who just want a level playing field.

Leonard said:

"I have raised the question of people winning lucrative licences to trade at big North Coast events and then being investigated by the Assets Recovery Agency and other very local concerns.

I have received letters from members of the public disgusted at the lack of action in previous years when they had tried to raise the issue of vans being used for illegal trading.

I have also heard from traders who have been constantly on the losing side of tenders because of those who could afford to put in higher bids, a luxury most likely brought about as a result of disreputable activities.

It is now time that our policy made all these practices redundant and delivered that level playing field. I raised numerous issues with the Chief Executive and see that they were reflected in the report brought to Council.

As this works progresses we will obviously have to ensure that measures to deliver a fair system for the traders who do their hard day's work in an honest way, are put in place." ENDS

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