Crackdown on Unlicensed Traders at Local Football Grounds

Two prosecutions of flag and scarf sellers at Stamford Bridge and Craven Cottage

Chelsea flag A Chelsea flag. Picture: Ben Sutherland

There has been a spate of prosecutions recently by Hammersmith & Fulham Council of unlicensed traders selling merchandise outside Stamford Bridge and Craven Cottage.

The council says that it has received complaints from licensed stall holders about illegal sellers. One trader who has a council licence explained he was worried he was losing business to unlicensed sellers who are rude in front of their customers.

Tahir Malik has been fined £10,800 for selling goods without licence and was ordered to pay the council an extra £3,400 for selling football merchandise outside Stamford Bridge and for swearing at council officers.

Malik, 61, from Westborough Road in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex was caught by the council on 12 occasions, including at Champions League and Premier League fixtures featuring teams like Manchester City, Ajax and Valencia, since 2019.

He has now been given 28 days to pay after a trial at the City of London Magistrates Court earlier this month.

The court heard how Malik would run away from council officers when they tried to ask him if he had a licence to sell football merchandise on Fulham Road or outside Stamford Gate. When officers did manage to catch up with the trader, he swore at them and continued trying to sell goods when he thought they weren’t looking.

Malik had previously been caught for selling football merchandise illegally outside of Wembley Stadium. He was fined £1,000 by Brent Council for selling outside the stadium in 2017, the court head. He had also been caught outside the national stadium in 2012 and 2018 – where he was fined £550 and £900.

The trader did not appear in court, claiming he had Covid symptoms. But since he had used the same excuse to avoid other court dates Magistrate Simon Mansfield chose to push on with the case.

The magistrate said, “We will probably never get it. The fine will be £900 for each offence… Hopefully, someone can get hold of him.”

50-year-old Darren Doogan has been asked to pay over £2,300 in the next 28 days for selling scarves outside Chelsea and Fulham’s football stadiums. He also is liable to £720 in fines and £1,600 in legal costs for selling football merchandise without a licence outside the two grounds.

Doogan, from Lovelace Avenue in Southend on Sea, Essex, was caught by council officers on six occasions when he was trying to sell items outside of Premier League, Champions League and Championship matches.

Officers tried to stop Doogan but he kept running away and the council was only able to confiscate nine items from him when he escaped them, the City of London Magistrates Court heard on 26 October.

The court also heard how the Essex man had previously been caught selling football merchandise illegally outside of Wembley Stadium. He was fined £75 by Brent Council for selling outside the stadium in 2013, the court head. He had also been caught outside the national stadium in 2014 and 2017.

The illegal trader was also fined a further £100 at North London Magistrates Court for the same offence in 2021. Doogan had never applied for a licence from either council to sell merchandise on matchdays.

Doogan used the same excuse as Malik for not appearing in court and this was the third time since April he had used the same excuse not to turn up. As with the previous case, Simon Mansfield decided to continue with the trial in his absence.

He was fined £120 for each offence and he was also asked to pay a £28 victim surcharge fee on top of Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s costs, totalling £2,392.

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

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October 31, 2022