On 1 June, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council became the first to gain Real Deal national accreditation since the pandemic began.
It has voluntarily signed up to the Real Deal charter, working with Staffordshire County Council, as part of ongoing work to protect local shoppers and genuine traders and enhance the growing Newcastle-under-Lyme Market.
Adopting the charter – run by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) – is a preventative measure to stop rogue traders from selling counterfeit and illegal items on The Stones meaning that visitors can shop, and stallholders trade, in safety and confidence.
The Council is committing to working very closely with the county council’s trading standards team, being aware of who is trading on the market at all times and showing a commitment to fair trading. As well as having access to guidance, information and promotional support, market regulations have been updated to state that suspected counterfeit items may be seized and formal action may follow.
There are further principles for trading standards and industry/trademark representatives.
Officials from the Real Deal initiative travelled from South Wales and the north of England for the signing event. Patricia Lennon, Real Deal National Campaign Manager, praised the market’s commitment, saying: “The management team at Newcastle-under-Lyme Market commenced the process of joining the Real Deal before the start of the Covid pandemic and their support for it has never wavered despite the difficult trading conditions of the past 12 months. I am so pleased that we have been able to come together today to witness this Real Deal Charter signing, confirming Newcastle-under-Lyme Market as a fake-free zone at the heart of the local community.”
Cllr. Stephen Sweeney, Cabinet member for finance, town centres and growth, said: “Markets are a valuable part of our local communities and make a vital contribution to the consumer experience. We’re putting a great deal of time and effort into making our historic market more vibrant and attractive. This is paying off in dividends with greater choice at our general, farmers’ and antique/collectibles markets which run alongside our popular themed events – such as Castle Artisan Market and the Record Fair – as well as visiting markets.
“As we welcome more and more traders to Newcastle town centre, and with restrictions easing, signing up to this national charter feels like a natural progression. We’re really proud of our market’s reputation and want to reassure residents, visitors and businesses that we’re committed to maintaining a safe and fair environment in which to shop and trade.
“Seeing the Real Deal logo is a visible reminder that shoppers can expect to buy only genuine and quality goods from our hardworking traders – not fakes, pirated or potentially unsafe items. We want them to enjoy their purchases and protect traders from losing sales.”
Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader, Cllr Victoria Wilson, said: “No one wants to see counterfeit goods on sale in our communities. It’s bad for our local economy, the goods can be unsafe and legitimate local traders can be driven out of business.
“It’s wonderful news that Newcastle Outdoor Market has signed up to the Real Deal charter, which will give customers real peace of mind and legitimate businesses the chance to compete on a level playing field.
“The Real Deal campaign has already been a huge success in Staffordshire. It gives us all the opportunity to work together to combat the sale of illicit, counterfeit goods.”
The NMG is a partnership of law enforcement, government and industry stakeholders, supported by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).
Graham Mogg, Chair of the NMG and ACG Intelligence Co-ordinator, said: “Counterfeit products bring a host of problems: consumers are ripped off; untested products are potentially unsafe; legitimate businesses lose sales; revenue is lost from the economy to the black market; and often the trade is linked to organised crime. Most people involved in market shopping or trading would be horrified to think that they may, unwittingly, be funding organised crime. We are grateful to Newcastle-under-Lyme Market and Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards for working together on the Real Deal programme. They are sending out a strong message that fakes are not welcome at this market.”
Gavin Terry, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Lead Officer for Intellectual Property (IP), added: “The trade in fake goods presents real threats to consumer safety and to businesses that play by the rules. Initiatives like the Real Deal foster a co-ordinated approach between trading standards, marketplaces and IP rights owners. As council resources become increasingly stretched, this type of partnership helps to support the work of trading standards in ensuring that communities benefit from safe, fair trading practices.