Spelthorne Council secures conviction for "Superman"

The man sold trinkets without street trader's consent

Spelthorne Borough Council has secured a conviction of a man who, dressed as the superhero "Superman", sold trinkets such as key rings and wrist-bands without a street trader's consent and accepted cash donations without a street (charity) collection consent.

On 30 August 2017, Staines Magistrates Court heard that Hounslow resident Saleem Syed was a regular in Staines Town Centre, approaching members of the public and asking them to "pop a coin in" for disabled children. The Council's Licensing Team started investigating after a complaint from a member of the public, and witnessed Syed accepting donations and selling trinkets on three occasions in 2014 and 2015.

When challenged, Syed produced a Pedlar's Certificate issued by his local police force under laws dating back to 1871. These certificates do not permit charity collections or street trading and are only intended for people to trade while they travel on foot. The Magistrates found that he was not acting within its terms.

Syed, who was convicted in his absence, was ordered to pay £1,615 in compensation and costs. The level of fines awarded were the maximum for these offences.

Cllr Robin Sider, the Chairman of the Council's Licensing Committee, said "I am delighted that this man has been brought to justice.  To all intents and purposes he behaved as though he was collecting money and selling goods for good causes but he had no permission to conduct these activities and no known connection to any charity. I would like to thank the Council staff who worked hard to secure this conviction".

Whilst most charity collectors are genuine, residents are urged to be on their guard against people who may be preying on their good-will. Genuine charity collectors must have a permit from the Council or an exemption certificate from the Cabinet Office and must only collect money in sealed containers. Money has to be properly accounted for and returns submitted. These safeguards help to ensure that people's generosity is not abused and their hard-earned cash is used for charitable purposes.

To report any suspicious collectors, contact the Council's Licensing Team by email at licensing@spelthorne.gov.ukor call 01784 444202.