Noise complaints filed

UK fruit and veg seller banned from vocally promoting his wares

A Hampshire fruit and veg seller has been banned from shouting about his produce in a seaside town where he has spent his entire working life. He was accused of being too noisy. Wayne Bellows, a fourth-generation market trader, claims town council officials gave him a gagging order after receiving a noise complaint.

His loudest shout reached more than 100 decibels, according to reports. This is around the same as a live rock concert. But Bellows said he has been trading produce since he was a child, and had never received any complaints before.

The market regulator initially told Mr Bellows to only shout from lunchtime onwards, but later banned him from shouting altogether.

"They more or less said they didn't want me to shout at all,” Bellows said. "It gets you down. I've got to do my job and make a living.”

Mr Bellows, of Totton near Southampton, said not only is his patter part of the "great atmosphere" but it is a vital sales technique to clear his fresh produce before it rots. quoted Bellows as saying: "All I say is the usual things like 'strawberries for a pound' and I'm not the only one who shouts. It's hard enough competing with the supermarkets. Markets are a dying trade."

Bellows plans to raise the matter at a Lymington and Pennington Town Council meeting with stallholders at the end of the month, adding: "I must fight this for markets everywhere.” He said he was "overwhelmed" by a whirlwind of support.

A Lymington and Pennington Town Council spokeswoman said that market rules ban traders from making a noise nuisance. "The town council has a responsibility to ensure a well-managed market for all and upon receiving complaints, has to deal with them in line with our market regulations, as published on our website."

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