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Understand the issue of itinerant traders

It appears to me that the problems some in our industry have are not solely related to cashless trading – the bigger and more understandable issue appears to be the interpretation of the itinerant trader exemption and the fear of the impact they may have on our businesses.

It is critical that merchants understand this exemption.

Our interpretation, based upon advice from key authorities, is that itinerant traders can be split into three categories:

  • Itinerant trader, registered with their local authority, able to collect materials from ‘house to house’ are not allowed to pay cash. Note the wording in the 1964 Act is ‘House to House’ and our interpretation is that this should exclude business – it is important to note however that this interpretation has not been tested in a court of law.
  • Itinerant trader, registered with their local authority, has applied for and received (after a police check) an S3(1) exemption – able to collect materials from house to house – are allowed to pay cash and keep limited records – your local authority has the power to revoke this exemption.
  • Others, not registered at all, work outside of the law and would continue to pay cash anyway – these individuals will continue to do what they want regardless of any legislative change and are being actively targeted by the authorities.

I have spoken at depth and frequently with a few different local authorities to understand the changing picture of applications for itinerant trader status. The general consensus is that applications for option a) have increased greatly (often driven by merchants themselves telling mobile collectors that they must register with their local authority otherwise the merchant will not deal with them), more importantly option b) has not had any applications in the local authorities that I have spoken with and indeed there are very few genuine Itinerant Traders with an S3(1) exemption around the country.

There are a number of payment options open to merchants whether they are BMRA members or not; now is the time to focus on finding the solution that works for your organisation, ensuring that any illicit activity from itinerant traders or others is reported promptly to the relevant authorities.

Nicola Guest, director at Alchemy Metals

Readers' comments (7)

  • Lets hope, that the "itinerant collectors" or the fella's in the white tipper trucks, what are they called again? understand the law as well as you. Thanks so much for the education!

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  • Lol, every unemployed signing on scrap collector in white tipper trucks is going around claiming to be a gypsy. Police won't do anything about it, they don't have the man power. Two yards near us are still paying out cash, both of them don't worry with trivialities like I.D. or conforiming to EA rules and regs with the full knowledge of the police and the EA but they don't do anything about it!

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  • Hmmm, the police are in our yard at this very moment. Nothing to see obviously, we've been cash free for a year already but its nice to see they are doing the rounds!

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  • Out and about in our patch too - good to see.

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  • Yeah the Police are spending their time bothering yards with licences! why dont they go out and find the ones without licences or the ones who are still trading in cash!!!!

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  • There's a yard in Stoke advertising on local radio that they're still paying cash. Have the Police paid them a visit?

    No prizes for guessing.

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  • lets think??? Na.

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