Proposed PSPO for Wembley footprint

Page 1 of 14

Closes 30 Sep 2019

Illegal Street Traders

Click here for further information regarding this PSPO

Illegal street trading is enforced under the London Local Authorities Act (as amended).

On event days, we experience numerous illegal street traders including ticket touts located in the main foot print of Wembley Stadium but also along the High Road Wembley, First Way etc... It is believed that the traders form part of an organised group and many have criminal convictions. They present an unsightly appearance and approach members of the public in a forceful and intimidating manner.

Generally, most of the traders are known to the Council. However, it has been found that the underage traders and unknown traders are employed to distract Council Officer’s attention.

The goods that are sold to members of the public are often of a dubious quality, which may also breach intellectual property rights of the event owner. Consumers who purchase counterfeit goods such as scarves, t-shirts and tickets from illegal street traders are put in a position where they cannot return the goods as the traders do not have a fixed location. This provides a poor experience for visitors and creates unfair competition.

Street trading also includes activities like free face painting, hair braiding, massages, therapy etc. at some events these services are offered at no cost to entice members of the public to subscribe to or purchase something at a later date or even just as a free event.   They are also used sometimes as a form of promotional advertising without the traditional printed materials or physical object giveaways and are usually offered in areas of high footfall thereby causing obstruction and congestion.  They are also often not controlled by regulation and can even be harmful to customers such as use of allergenic products for face painting.

Moreover, the vicinity around Wembley Stadium attracts vast amounts of new residents, workers and visitors. The effects of illegal street traders not only cause a nuisance due to their poor behaviour and unwelcoming presence, they also cause obstruction on the public highway by displaying their goods across roads that are closed to traffic.

Enforcement officers have encountered aggressive illegal traders who have verbally and physically threatened officers. On occasions officers have been thrown on the floor, which is upsetting and distressing. To prevent such events occurring, police assistance is required to prevent a breach of peace and verify details of the illegal traders. In addition, certain traders are known to give false details and provide no fixed abode to challenge Council Officers. It is also unfair on those traders who have been licenced and are trading legally and fully compliant with regulation including having public liability insurance.

The Council have and continues to receive complaints from licenced traders about un-licenced traders who are affecting their livelihoods and the impact on their legitimate business. They have even offered to pay for Council enforcement to remove this scourge.  

The cost of staffing the events, securing evidence, prosecuting individuals, preparing reports, attending court and disposing of forfeited items have all increased tremendously, putting additional pressure on limited resources.

Using the London Local Authorities Act 1990 the following prosecutions were recently undertaken successfully:

Year

No of Prosecutions

2017

38

2018

33

2019

17

Furthermore, four criminal behaviour orders have been obtained. These individuals are still present on the Wembley footprint acting as ‘spotters’ for other traders who trade illegally.  The reduction in prosecution numbers is not because the problem is diminishing. It is due to the fact that we have not been able to undertake regular enforcement.

The illegal street traders do not appear to be affected by the court convictions and fines as they continue to attend events and sell merchandise regardless. The same traders present themselves in the Wembley foot print time and time again. Resources are very limited; therefore, the Council cannot always be present to enforce every event.

Furthermore, London Local Authorities Act allows enforcement on streets and not on enclosed private land or any open land/space. A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) would allow enforcement on private land as well as public land including open spaces against un-licenced traders. This will allow enforcement to be undertaken in all area highlighted in the attached plan (Appendix 1). The enforcement of the PSPO and London Local Authorities Act 1990 would be a stepping stone to obtaining the injunction against un-named illegal traders.  Such an injunction brought about by the Jockey Club at Cheltenham Racecourse has resulted in drastically reducing the number of illegal traders.

It must be noted that although an injunction was obtained against the persons’ unknown most of the enforcement has been undertaken against named persons breaching the PSPO. However, Cheltenham Racecourse can take persistent offenders to the high court for breach of the injunction.

In summary, the PSPO to tackle street trading which covers all areas within the highlighted area in the plan attached in Appendix 1 will help address the problem.

1. Please tell us to what extent do you agree or disagree with the Council with introducing PSPO for illegal street trading including ticket touts?
(Required)