Raid on Norwich ‘pop up’ shop leads to Christmas warning from watchdogs

Alice Barnes from Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards. Picture: James Bass.

Alice Barnes from Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Evening News © 2007

A warning has today been sent out to shoppers after suspected dangerous toys and counterfeit clothes were seized in a raid on a Christmas pop-up store in Norwich.

Officers at Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards service urged people to consider the risks of buying from shops which appear for a few weeks in the run-up to Christmas – and then vanish just days afterwards. The advice has been issued after the team visited a trader who had opened a pop-up shop in the city centre.

Officers confiscated a number of suspected unsafe toys and counterfeit laundry products, cosmetics and clothes which were on sale. Because an investigation is under way, watchdogs have not revealed where the shop was located.

Alice Barnes, investigation team leader at Trading Standards, said: 'When we visited the temporary shop in Norwich, we took away a number of goods that we suspected of being unsafe or fake. These are currently being tested so our investigation is continuing. We understand the shop is currently empty.'

She added: 'Pop up or short lease shops are a phenomenon that are increasingly coming to our high streets and they can be very good for the local economy - bringing empty shops to life, providing local jobs and giving customers more choice.

'These traders also have to abide by consumer law in exactly the same way as other retailers – and customers should expect exactly the same rights as if they shopped in any other shop.

'But at this time of year, there are some traders whose only aim is take out a temporary lease on a business premises simply to cash in on the Christmas trade and then move on, sometimes leaving consumers no recourse or redress in the event of injury or dissatisfaction with the products they've bought. That's also unfair to other local shops who fully comply with the law.

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'So we are urging shoppers to take that extra bit of care this Christmas and remind them that while shops like this may have a great range of items for sale – perhaps even including versions of the latest must-have Christmas toy or gadget - and at prices to tempt, if the receipt turns out not be worth the paper it's printed on, your purchases might not turn out to be the bargain they originally seemed to be.'

Shoppers who need consumer advice or who want to report a matter to Trading Standards should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Have you been given a helping hand by trading standards? Tell us your story by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk