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A pedlars certificate is a certificate that allows a person to trade (often selling trinkets, household goods and other hand made objects) whilst on foot. Pedlars can travel from:

  • door to door
  • place to place, or
  • town to town.

It is the means by which a pedlar trades that distinguishes a pedlar from a licensed street trader. The means of a pedlar are mobile, whereas the means of a street trader are static i.e. they have a fixed stall.

A pedlars certificate once issued can be used anywhere in the United Kingdom. The "pedlar" cannot set up a fixed pitch from which to trade, but rather moves around acquiring custom. If you do want to set up trade in a particular location, such as a market place, and remain static, you would require a street trader's licence which you obtain from your local council.

A pedlar may sell foodstuffs, however, depending upon the nature of the food being sold, they may be required to register with their local Environmental Health Department.

A pedlar wishing only to sell food and drink may not require a pedlars certificate, they should, however, contact their local Environmental Health Department to enquire about the necessity to register their business.

Regional variation: Some local authorities have obtained private Acts of Parliament which prohibit pedlars from trading on 'designated streets'. In areas where such restrictions are in force a pedlar can only trade door to door and cannot sell direct to customers in the street. You should contact your local authority to enquire about any local restrictions. Please see the link in Related Information to find your local authority.

Please be aware that trading door to door without a pedlars certificate, is an offence.

A pedlars certificate is obtained from the chief of police from the area where you live. You need to attend at your local police station with:

  • 2 photos of you
  • a form of identity, eg a passport or driving licence
  • proof of your address
  • details of a referee

You must be 17 or over to apply for a pedlars licence and must have lived for at least 28 days within the district you are applying.

It would be advisable to contact your local police before attending as there may be slight differences in this process from force to force.

The police need this information to check your identity and that you are of good character before issuing a certificate. The cost of the licence is currently £12.25 and lasts 1 year.

Please note that having a pedlars certificate is in no way an indication that the goods for sale are of merchantable quality.

More detailed information regarding pedlary issues is available via the website in 'Related Information'.


You will need to obtain an application form from your local council. The form will ask for your name, address, date of birth, street in which you wish to trade (a plan must be attached), days and times you will be trading, description of goods you will be trading, description of stall or any other object used in connection with trading, details of any previous convictions and they will more than likely want to know if you have been refused a street trader licence before. If you are selling food you need to get a further licence from your local council.

It is likely that you will have to send in with the form some passport photographs and a deposit.

You do not need this type of licence if you are,

  • trading as a pedlar
  • market trader operating at a licensed venue
  • news vendor selling only newspapers and periodicals.

Councils are unlikely to give consent to trade on a main road or anywhere which may cause an obstruction or congestion, such as near to schools.

Please be aware that trading without a street trader licence is an offence.

See the website in related information to find your local authority.


The Trading Standards Institute gives detailed advice regarding cold callers and advice on your rights regarding them.

'Doorstep sellers' are becoming an increasing problem, usually targeting older people. Someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of money or trying to gain access to your home to steal items. In some cases, the sellers portray to be reformed criminals who are looking to start their lives again.

You can put up a 'no cold callers' sign which should deter them from knocking on your door, and if a cold caller ignores this sign it is a criminal offence. Whilst the police may not be able to take action in each individual case of the sign being ignored, the information can be used to target these sellers and prevent them from committing crimes.

If you are the victim of this and the callers refuse to leave, you can contact the police. If you are not in immediate danger, we would advise that you make a report via the non-emergency 101 number or on the 999 number in an emergency.

For further guidance please see the links in 'related information' to helpful websites.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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