South Gloucestershire Council recently carried out a routine inspection of mobile food businesses in the district.
The aim of the initiative was to check that the operators were complying with regulations and offering the best possible service to residents.
During the inspection 13 late night food vans were visited. Licensing officers discovered a number of licensing breaches including the late payment of trading fees, non-display of trading consents, and further investigations are taking place around the disposal of trade waste and potential food hygiene breaches. These will be followed up by licensing officers and the council’s health, safety and food team in the coming weeks to ensure compliance. Five of the vans were found to be fully compliant.
The council was also working in partnership with the UK Border Agency. At four of the 13 visited vans arrests were made by HM Border Agency officials in relation to the immigration status of four of the workers. Two of the arrested men have been transferred to immigration detention pending removal from the UK.
The operation was part of the council’s Street Trading Action Week, where officers were on hand to give out advice and guidance, help resolve any issues and work with the traders to ensure they give the best possible service to local residents.
Cllr Heather Goddard, executive member for communities, said: “It is important that street traders in the district comply with regulations, so I am pleased to see that five out of the vans inspected are doing so and are taking their legal responsibilities seriously.
“Illegal trading is unfair on both consumers and legitimate traders, so the council and its partners will continue to take action to ensure that local residents are protected from illegal street traders.”
Jane Farleigh, regional director of the UK Border Agency in Wales and the South West, said: “As well as carrying out our own operations targeting immigration offenders, my officers frequently work closely local authorities, police and others to deliver the best results.
“Our teams of immigration officers carry out frequent operations to find those who are here illegally and to remove them from the UK.
“The message is simple. If someone is living or working here illegally they will get caught.”
Source: South Gloucestershire Council