Tendring: More than 100 cars removed from streets in crackdown on illegal sales

Cars for sale in a layby

Cars for sale in a layby

ALMOST 100 illegal and nuisance car sales have been driven off the streets of Tendring as part of a major crackdown.

The initiative, launched by Tendring District Council in September, has been aimed at salesmen who were clogging up public highways to sell multiple vehicles.

The campaign was started after complaints from legitimate car dealers who felt the salesmen using public roads were gaining an unfair advantage because they weren’t paying the overheads associated with running a car lot. People living in affected areas also complained that streets were getting blocked by the for-sale vehicles, which would often remain parked in one spot for days.

As part of the crackdown, council officers slapped large orange stickers on any problem vehicles they identified. Sellers have been warned to immediately remove the vehicle or risk a maximum £1,000 fine through court action being taken against them.

So far 91 vehicles, equating to around £120,000 worth of illegal trading, have been dealt with and, according to the council, a number of others are in the pipeline.

Several sellers are still under investigation for ignoring the notices and further action is being sought against them through the courts.

The council’s cabinet member for environment and coast protection, Nick Turner, said the clampdown has proved popular with people living in the district.

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He said: “We promised people that we would tackle this issue, which has blighted streets for some time, and in many cases cars have disappeared overnight.

“This was a new initiative by the council and has involved a number of council officers including a streetscene officer, parking and our dog wardens.”

Mr Turner emphasised that the aim was not to go after individuals who may put their own car up for sale outside their own home – only those who are trying to sell a number of vehicles from the public highway.

“This exercise is aimed at those causing a nuisance clogging up roads where people want to park to enjoy the facilities, such as seafronts,” he added.

Particular problem areas in the district have been roads off Clacton seafront, such as St Johns Road and London Road and streets in Holland-on-Sea.

Instead of using powers under the Highways Act or Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, which have been tried in the past, the council is using street trading legislation to deal with the situation.

It came up with the idea of the crackdown after consulting with other authorities who have been plagued with similar problems.

Councillors, officers and Essex County Council’s Trading Standards met last year to discuss the best way forward for tackling the problem in Tendring before any action was taken.