A well known Cornish mobile fish and chip trader has been called ‘difficult’ by Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance team and prosecuted for trading without having the required street trading consent in place.
But Daniel Walters of Falmouth – better known to most people as The Cornish Codfather – has said he was making a protest and has bemoaned the jobsworth council officials. Mr Walters says the council wouldn’t allow him to put his signs out where he always put them, which had never caused any problems, and so he refused to pay for a permit. “Its like they make up these rules and regulations” an exasperated Mr walters told us.
“I’ve spoken to alot of other traders who feel the same who are also being told to take their signs down. Which in turn means everyone is paying to lose money – so its destroying small businesses” Mr Walters told us.
At Truro Magistrates Court last week Walters was fined £145 for two offences of trading without consent at Mawnan Smith and Stithians where he ws told he could put his signs out. He pleaded guilty and was also ordered to pay £500 towards Cornwall Councils costs and £30 victim surcharge.
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Mr Mark Andrews prosecuting informed the court that in May 2017 Licensing Compliance officers had observed The Cornish Codfather van trading at Stithians and again in July 2017. He also had been observed by the same officers in his well known and regular spot in Mawnan Smith.
The Cornish Codfather is frequently mentioned by travel guides as one of the best fish n chips in Cornwall and gets 5 stars on Trip Adviser.
But Mr Walters has said he did not pay for the consent in protest at being told he wasn’t going to be allowed to put his signs out where he knew they worked best. The council said he simply didn’t have the proper permission to trade there.
Mr Walters told us “I didn’t pay the money because they wanted me to take my signs down… No signs means no business – but they told me to rethink my business! Well, I’ve been running it for 6 years now so I know what I’m doing. It would’ve destroyed my business by removing the signs. I need the signs to let people know where I am”
“Nowhere else in the country charges mobile like Cornwall does now” Mr Walters told us “The price per pitch started off at £70, within a few months it went to £120, within a year to £170 plus they want the money in January which as anyone knows is the worst time of year for any Cornish business also when tax is due”
“Last year I got accused of never paying anything but they didn’t have any records. There’s no records of who trades where at what times which I my eyes is the thing they need to do. And it would be better for the public.. If I can’t park where I pay for my pitch I can’t work and we are one of the poorest counties”
“I’m now selling my business with two trading units if people are interested in buying then message me on FB. It’s a good business but amongst other things I’ve had a few car crashes over the last few years and so my insurance has gone through the roof”
In passing sentence the magistrates told Walters that he clearly didn’t like the conditions imposed by the Council but nevertheless he needed to follow the rules and have the correct paperwork.
Following the hearing the investigating officer Andrea Carter said:
”Cornwall Council has tried very hard to work with Mr Walters to ensure that he was properly authorised to conduct his business under the provisions of the Street Trading Legislation.
Unfortunately Mr Walters proved very difficult to deal with and continued to trade without the required consent despite my colleague and I sending out number of requests requiring him to get the correct consent. Ultimately we had no option but to take proceedings against him.”