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Crackdown on South Bank hot dog sellers

A joint operation between Lambeth Council, Westminster Council and the Metropolitan Police has netted five hot dog sellers, an ice cream van and a wire bender all plying their illegal trade on Westminster Bridge.

The crackdown took place in mid-March with Lambeth Street Care team contributing 10 enforcement officers.

Councillor Clare Whelan, executive member for environment, said: "The aim of the exercise was to challenge the number of illegal hot dog sellers, unlicensed ice cream sellers and other illegal traders who sell all sorts of junk."

The main targets of the operation were the illegal hot-dog sellers, due to their unhygienic cooking equipment, non-existent washing facilities and cheap products which are not kept in refrigerated conditions. Many tourists believe these traders are licensed and buy the hot dogs in good faith.

"Unfortunately, many of these very customers will become ill as a result and certainly will not get value for money," Councillor Whelan said. "Lambeth is preparing for more enforcement operations and this exercise adds to earlier operations where seven illegal food stalls were removed."

Lambeth Council claims that the owners of the hot dog trolleys are never on site, as they prefer to use cheap, unregistered and untrained staff to produce the hot dogs and collect all the cash.

The operation commenced at 9am with a briefing in Westminster to ensure that the officers when arriving on site could capture all the illegal traders in one swoop.

The second phase captured two hot dog trolleys operating on the Hungerford Bridge walkways linking the Royal Festival Hall with Charing Cross station.

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