Rogue traders: raising the standard

From underage knife sales to dodgy cigarettes, we spent London Trading Standards week tracking down traders who break the rules.

Trading Standards teams across the capital signed up for a week of action aimed at protecting consumers and safeguarding businesses - writes

As part of Haringey and the local police team’s commitment to tackling knife crime, we sent police cadets aged 15 and 16 out on a test purchase to buy knives, which are age restricted. The cadets visited seven shops and one shop sold a knife to a youngster. The seller will be prosecuted.

In the last year we have targeted 23 shops in test purchases of age-restricted items such as knives, with three underage sales made. One seller was recently fined £500 plus £500 in compensation.

In a mission to hunt out rogue letting agents we also checked in with 40 estate agents to make sure they were signed up to Government-backed schemes and displayed their fees and charges clearly. Two were found not to meet the required standards. We are now investigating them with a view to prosecution, which could hold a fine of up to £5,000 per offence.

We also raided shops across the borough, looking for illicit cigarettes – which can contain human faeces, asbestos, mould and dead flies ­– and alcohol. In one store in Wood Green we seized 1,300 cigarettes and 250g of hand rolling tobacco. With HMRC we also seized 200 cigarettes from a shop in North Tottenham. The shops could have their licence suspended or revoked.

During the week we also focused on supporting legitimate businesses and examining cosmetics safety in shops.

Cllr Peray Ahmet, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

Not only do rogue traders cause real problems for legitimate businesses, but they can also lead to our residents buying unsafe and illegal products. Whether it’s tracking down illegal cigarettes or making sure youngsters can’t buy knives, the work our Trading Standards team does is vital to our borough.

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