Published: November 14, 2008

Exclusive: Sparks fly after illegal food traders 'stole trade' at fireworks

Angry food sellers in Burnham-On-Sea were left out of pocket when unlicensed fast food vans pitched up along roadsides in the town just minutes before the start of last Sunday's fireworks display.

Huge crowds flocked to the town to watch the spectacular fireworks display, but several food traders who stayed open late to serve hot food were disappointed by the poor levels of trade.

They were angry to learn later that four unlicensed burger vans had arrived in the town and located themselves in high-profile spots around the town.

Louise Parkin from Burnham Pavilion told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It's very frustrating that this happened when we pay business rates and put money into the town all year round."

"It should have been a very busy night for us, but by the time I'd paid my four staff we'd made no profit on the evening. I'm convinced the unlicensed food traders were to blame."

Town Clerk Eileen Shaw confirmed to Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We did have several reports of unlicensed food sellers operating along the seafront and Marine Drive."

"I have been in touch with the licensing department at Sedgemoor District Council and the carnival commitee to confirm that no licences were granted for the Sunday night, only the day of the carnival itself."

"Unfortunately, we were not able to take immediate action on Sunday night without fully checking the licensing situation, but we will not hesitate to move them on if they turn up again next year."

Alex Turco, Chairman of Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade, added: "As far as the Chamber is aware, no licences for street vendors were issued for Sunday's fireworks."

"Many of the town's businesses contributed financially to the display and it is unacceptable to the Chamber for illegal operations to take money out of the town when they have not put anything in."

He stressed that licensed street trading on carnival day itself was a different matter - and the Chamber did not have any issue with this.

Huge crowds lined Burnham seafront on Sunday night for the 24-minute fireworks spectacular, which Burnham-On-Sea.com first featured here.

 




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