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Rogue traders are being warned they are not welcome on the region's popular markets after a new clampdown was launched on illegal and counterfeit goods.
Fake clothes, perfume, trainers, DVDs and computer games are all products which are easily faked and then sold at knockdown prices on stalls across South Yorkshire.
But council officers say the products may be harmful to health or of extremely poor quality and said the latest initiative was designed to protect shoppers from danger.
The national Real Deal charter was launched last year by copyright organisations and Sheffield Council revealed yesterday that all its markets and traders had signed up.
It is hoped that the scheme will improve the public image of shopping at markets, which in recent years have suffered from declining trade and increased competition.
As part of the scheme, trading standards officers will check markets managed by the council, both indoors and outdoors, including farmers’ markets and car boot sales.
The city’s Castle Market, the Market Place in Crystal Peaks shopping centre, and markets on the Moor, King Street and Exchange Street will all be strictly regulated. Any trader found selling counterfeits will be removed and banned from further trading on any of the markets and their details will be shared with the police and other councils.
Sheffield Markets, which is run by Sheffield Council, said it had improved its application process for stallholders and would be monitoring traders and their product lines carefully.
Market bosses said the charter was a “joint commitment” between them and legitimate market traders, to make the markets a “safe and fair place to shop and trade”.
Markets manager Andy Ward said the authority had recently prosecuted a trader who had been caught selling counterfeit trainers and sports kit from a stall on the Moor.
He added: “The charter allows Sheffield Council and the market traders to give a higher level of protection to the consumer, and improve the public image of market shopping.
“We are always working hard to prevent the sale of counterfeit or illegal products and ensure that products bought in our markets are 100 per cent genuine.
“It is a bigger problem on car boot sales with CDs and DVDs, but clothing and trainers do sometimes find their way onto our conventional markets. It won’t be tolerated.”
Despite recent tough trading conditions, Sheffield’s Castle Market still attracts around 80,000 shoppers a week, while the Crystal Peaks market attracts 40,000 people.
Sheffield Council’s Cabinet member for business, transport and skills, Ian Auckland, said: “Customers can shop with confidence in our markets, and have the peace of mind that the products are always genuine.
“Committing to the Real Deal charter means our markets are ‘fake-free’ and sends out a clear message to any unscrupulous traders that Sheffield Council will not tolerate counterfeit or illegal products on any of its markets.
“Working in partnership with Trading Standards and other law enforcement agencies means intelligence is shared – helping in the overall fight against criminal activity.”
Markets in Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley are not yet signed up to the charter, but yesterday council officers said that they were considering following Sheffield’s example.
A spokesman from Barnsley Council said: “We are consulting Barnsley Markets National Market Traders Federation representatives on this and seeking their support.”
Source – Yorkshire Post, September 2010
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