Hitchin market is the ‘Real Deal’

HITCHIN’S market has become the first in Hertfordshire to be included in a prestigious scheme which tackles the sale of illegal goods.

The Real Deal campaign, which is a national initiative, was launched at the market last Saturday.

Its support means that regulations and inspections will be tightened on counterfeit or dodgy goods at the market, with spot checks taken out to ensure compliancy.

“For us, it’s a really big thing. I think we are one of the first markets in the east to be recognised in this,” said Hitchin market manager Tony Howes.

“We are delighted to be able to demonstrate commitment to safe and fair trading. It’s a great way to ensure people can shop and trade in confidence.”

Hitchin market had to put in a bid to win the status, which was supported by Hertfordshire trading standards and North Herts District Council.

In order to join the scheme, a charter had to be signed which set out the key principles for market operators and trading standards to abide by.

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“Signing up to this demonstrates commitment to sale and fair trading at the local market,” said executive member for community safety Cllr Keith Emsall.

“I’m delighted that Hitchin has taken this important step to maintain a fake-free venue.”

Hitchin is one of the first private markets in the country to be recognised by the Real Deal campaign.

And although it’s a popular scheme in the northern counties and London, it is relatively rare in this area.

“Well-run markets are at the heart of a community, providing important benefits to shoppers and local businesses,” said Real Deal campaign co-ordinator Patricia Lennon.

“Unfortunately, unscrupulous traders can be attracted to markets and car boot sales as an easy opportunity to trade illegally, particularly in counterfeit and pirated goods.

“Shoppers in Hitchin are fortunate. They can shop with confidence knowing that traders in counterfeits will not be tolerated at their market.”