Frustrated traders at the Lincoln Christmas Market have voiced their concerns over street pedlars who “cashed in” on the event, but local authorities say there is nothing they can do.
Whilst market holders, who paid upwards of £1,300 to secure a stall in one of the UK’s most popular Christmas markets, had to go through rigorous health and safety checks, fire safety checks and had strict trading standards guidelines, pedlars wheeled in their goods to cash in on the estimated 260,000 visitors who came to the city.
A pedlar’s license costs £12.25 a year and allows them to sell goods on a small trolley or cart — but the rules specify that a pedlar must move on to a new location if 10 minutes passed since its last sale.
The pedlars which attended the Lincoln Christmas Market were not subjected to the same checks and costs as the official traders and were only submitted to a licence check throughout the four day weekend.
Stuart Maclaren, owner of Santa Sacks Co. bought a stall for the event. He said: “I feel it’s unfair as the stands cost us a substantial amount of money for someone to just roll up and trade for free and who don’t have to follow the strict guidelines imposed on traders by the council.
“They are also getting all the benefits, that all trade and stand holders pay towards, for free.
“In addition, you have people using gardens to sell from, which again is not helping pay towards the market to help make it the most amazing market in the UK.
“I have done 10 shows this year across the UK and not seen any of them at any shows so I don’t understand why Lincoln lets it happen.”
A spokesperson for the City of Lincoln Council confirmed that there is nothing the council or any other authority is able to do to prevent it from happening.
They said: “If a pedlar has a licence to trade issued by a police force in the UK, then they are able to trade on any public highway. This means there was no reason to move them on at the market.
“What we did do, however, is ensure they didn’t cause an obstruction and traded in quieter areas of the market.
“The police were very helpful in ensuring pedlars traded only where they should within the market.”