A Pedlar is someone who travels and trades on foot, going from town to town or house to house selling goods or offering their skills in handicrafts and selling such things as pictures, dusters and household goods. A pedlar must hold a certificate granted by a chief constable. The certificate is valid for one year and applies throughout the United Kingdom. Certificates cannot be issued to people under the age of 17.

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Adur and Worthing have adopted Street Trading Restrictions in their areas with most of Adur and much of Worthing (particularly the town centre) prohibited for the purposes of street trading. These areas are vigorously patrolled and breaches to the Local Government (Misc. Provisions) Act are enforced.  

Street trading means the selling, or exposing or offering for sale, of any article (including a living thing) in a street. A street for the purposes of this definition includes any road, highway, footway, beach or other area to which the public have access without payment.

Pedlars legitimately trading are welcome throughout Adur and Worthing but traders using a pedlar’s licence to illegally participate in street trading in prohibited or consent streets could face enforcement action including the possibility of prosecution under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Someone who acts as a pedlar without a certificate commits an offence. To apply for a pedlar's certificate, contact your local police station.

A person legitimately trading under a Pedlar's Certificate from the Police may also trade in a street on a limited basis, provided they abide by the following rules:

  • A pedlar is a pedestrian
  • A pedlar trades whilst travelling rather than travelling to trade
  • A pedlar goes to customers rather than allowing them to come to him/her
  • A pedlar is a seller rather than a mender
  • A pedlar must not remain stationary for long periods of time
  • A pedlar must not set up a stall and wait for people to approach

The Pedlars Act 1871 specifically precludes the now common place practice of a pedlar standing in one place for an extended period to sell their goods or services. The Pedlars act defines the difference between street traders and pedlars as:

“Street traders travel to trade, whereas a pedlar should trade as they travel.”

Furthermore the practice of standing for 15 or 20 minutes that is often quoted as a Pedlar's right is to allow the pedlar to take a break and that during this time he or she should not be trading. 

Conviction at the Magistrate's Court of unauthorised street trading under the Local Government (Misc. Provisions) Act 1982 is liable to a fine of up to £1,000 per offence.

For more detailed information please see our street trading and pedlary information leaflet (below) or contact the licensing unit at Adur & Worthing Councils:

See also: Street trading

Back to top

Need assistance with this service?
Get in touch:

Page last updated: 09 August 2022

Back to top