Lambeth Council says that its ongoing operations against illegal street traders on Westminster Bridge and the South Bank are proving highly successful in clamping down on unlicensed and unhygienic vendors.
"It looks like the message might be getting across to these people – over the Easter weekend only one illegal trader tried their luck and was caught, selling films, batteries and disposable cameras" said Councillor Clare Whelan, executive member for environment. "An unlicensed ice cream van set up on the South Bank and the vehicle was quickly confiscated. Maybe these people go somewhere else for winter and haven't seen the difference Lambeth Street Care officers have made to the area."
The ongoing operation along the South Bank in partnership with the police will continue through the early summer period. The visible enforcement presence throughout the day and evening will send a clear message to illegal traders – if you try and set up shop, your goods and vehicles will be confiscated.
The council says that those tempted to sample an illicit ice cream or hot dog from one of these vendors should think of their health first. Not having to meet health and safety regulations means dirty hotplates – often containing bird droppings – unsafe meat, no running water and no cleaning facilities. Ice cream vans can have high levels of bacteria in the ice-cream machines if they have not been cleaned properly.
Councillor Whelan added: "Officers have been very successful in giving the clear message that illegal traders will not be tolerated. Since the beginning of the campaign the number of hot dog sellers has dropped off and we intend to keep it that way."