Warnings issued as rogue fish traders hit the streets of Northumberland

Fish unfit for consumption is being sold in Northumberland, according to the county’s trading standards service. 

Residents in the Hexham, Corbridge, Cramlington, Alnwick, Rothbury, Berwick and Morpeth areas are being advised not to buy fish from doorstep sellers to avoid risk. Upon purchase, the fish appears to be fine because it is frozen. It is only after the traders leave that it becomes apparent it is inedible.

In one reported incident, a case of fish worth £150 was purchased but was not fit for consumption.

“These fish sellers travel around the country selling unlabelled, misdescribed and unweighed packs of fish,” said David Sayer, business compliance and public safety unit manager at Northumberland County Council.

“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 efforts and have, effectively, been bullied into buying. Trading Standards is able to trace some of the sellers, but often buyers pay in cash and don’t see the van that the sellers use.”

Councillor Liz Simpson, deputy business chair for the council with responsibility for public protection, explained that historically these types of complaints involve sellers who arrive out of the blue instead of traditional sellers with established routes.

“We don’t want these itinerant fish sellers in Northumberland,” she said. “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,” she added.

Residents who have had an issue with any goods bought or who would like to receive a door sticker have been advised to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0345 404 0506 who will pass information on to Northumberland’s trading standards service.

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