Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards service has issued a warning about the sale of unfit and unlabelled fish from rogue traders.
Reports have suggested that the fish being sold is not fit for consumption, but this only becomes apparent when the traders leave due to the fact that the fish is sold frozen.
Now residents in Northumberland are being advised not to buy fish from unscrupulous doorstep sellers.
Reports of rogue sellers have come into Trading Standards from residents in the areas of Hexham, Corbridge, Cramlington, Alnwick, Rothbury, Berwick and Morpeth.
During some incidents, large amounts of fish are being hand delivered into residents’ freezers by the sellers and in one case fish to the value of £150 was sold which was not fit for consumption.
David Sayer, business compliance and public safety unit manager at the county manager at the county council, said: “These fish sellers travel around the country selling unlabelled or misdescribed, unweighed packs of fish.
“People don’t know what they are buying, they are buying cheap product at premium prices and are often pressurised into buying more than they need.
“The sellers pick on the most vulnerable and we know that complainants have been subject to repeat sales and, effectively, been bullied into buying. Trading Standards are able to trace some of the sellers, but often buyers pay in cash and don’t see the van that the sellers use.”
Coun Liz Simpson, deputy business chairman for the council with responsibility for public protection, said: “Historically, these type of complaints involve sellers who turn up out of the blue rather than traditional roundsmen who have an established route and visit homes on a regular basis.
“We don’t want these itinerant fish sellers in Northumberland. They cause damage to the people that it’s our job to protect and support by fleecing our residents and undercutting our legitimate businesses. Residents should not buy at the door from unknown traders, whether they are selling goods or services.
“You often won’t know what you’re buying, will overpay for defective or faulty products and will not be able to trace the seller if anything goes wrong. The council has a supply of door-stickers that tell traders that they are not wanted at the property and that they commit an offence if they stay.”
Residents who have a problem with goods or services they have bought, or are looking to get a door sticker, should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 who will pass information onto Northumberland’s Trading Standards Service.