Owner of burger van on A689 fined for not having permit after Hartlepool council sting
A burger van owner spoke of her frustration at being fined for not having a street trading permit.
Trina Collins has been operating her Mr Tea's van from a lay-by on the A689 near Wynyard for more than two years.
She bought yearly and monthly licences for some of that time, but the van was not licensed for long periods, Teesside Magistrates' Court heard.
"A council officer made a test purchase at the van of a hot bacon sandwich and a hot cup of coffee," said Tony McNab, prosecuting on behalf of Hartlepool Borough Council.
"That was on November 16 when a licence was not in force.
"Mrs Collins had been written to several times to tell her of the need of a licence.
"Licences for street trading are required in the Hartlepool area in the interests of public health and consumer protection."
Collins, 49, of Roseberry Road, Trimdon Village, admitted being engaged in street trading without consent on November 16, last year.
Representing herself, she said: "All I am trying to do is earn a living.
"When I first started, someone came out from Durham County Council, and I got five stars for hygiene.
"There was then some confusion over where the lay-by was, it turned out it is in Hartlepool's area.
"A licence from them is £215 a month, or £1,300 a year, which is a big difference.
"I asked if I could have a yearly one on monthly repayments, but they weren't interested.
"Some days at the van I can take £150 but other days it might only be £13."
Collins said she had stopped paying for a licence partly as a protest.
"It is very frustrating," she said. "I've asked for bins and the potholes to be repaired, but nothing is done.
"I keep the lay-by as tidy as I can, including clearing human waste left by some of the lorry drivers, and my husband cuts the grass.
"I've taken a girl off the dole to come and work for me."
Collins was given a conditional discharge of 12 months, and ordered to pay £145 costs.