Market traders frustrated having to deal with thefts

David Maudsley, market trader, photo by Fatima Aziz

Preston market traders find themselves feeling “vulnerable” following a series of thefts.

Despite the suggestion of increased security from stallholders, cost-cutting measures have left the market hall without a security team.

David Bullock, market manager said: “We’ve asked the council to look at security but it boils down to finances.

“They haven’t got the finances to employ somebody.”

The lack of security available to aid traders on a daily basis leaves them having to be “vigilant” to avoid further thefts.

David Maudsley, a bag stallholder, believes “prevention is better than cure” when it comes to tackling theft.

He said: “You need something to stop it at source really.”

Mr Maudsley is a recent victim of theft after a bag was taken on Monday and another on Friday.

Even with CCTV cameras inside the market, traders are more reluctant to report smaller incidents because of a lack of follow-up.

Independent business owners like traders in the market hall are more directly affected by smaller thefts because of small profit margins.

Mr Maudsley said: “Anything stolen really takes it off our profit margins which are already very slim.”

Many traders struggle with theft particularly when displaying their stock on each stall and have no option but to deal with those implications.

Open market stalls come with a bigger risk of theft but traders agree that people need to see the stock in order to buy it.

While the indoor market hall is installed with CCTV cameras, the outdoor market has very little security.

Tracey Dawson, a baby clothes stall holder contemplated “giving it all up” after facing theft of stock worth £500 last year and another £50 just weeks ago.

She believes more security is needed for traders and said: “It would be a big help.”

Without the finances to fund improved security, traders will have to continue to work as a community in order to face the issues with theft.

Councillor Robert Boswell said: “I don’t think there is an issue with theft.

“There’s a responsibility of traders to self-police.”