No action on noisy rag and bone men
RESIDENTS say rag and bone men are creating 'unbelievable' disturbances – despite council chiefs saying they have had 'no reason' to take any action.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council warned it had the powers to prosecute scrap dealers for excessive noise – leading to fines of up to £5,000 – after a spate of complaints last year.
Neighbouring Stafford Borough Council has successfully prosecuted four scrap collectors for noise pollution after a crackdown in September.
But the city council said it has so far had 'no reason' to take any formal enforcement action over the issue.
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Residents say they are unhappy about the noise created by collectors' bugles and loud hailers as the number of visits has soared due to the rising value of scrap metal.
Gareth Cooper, aged 29, of Fegg Hayes Road, Fegg Hayes, said: "The rag and bone men only seem to be getting louder.
"It is unbelievable at times. I am surprised the council can't hear it in their own offices.
"They are shouting on microphones, some of them seem to be screaming, and one has a recorded message that repeats over and over.
"The number of scrap vans seems to have gone down slightly since the council's warning but they are still coming very regularly and at bad times.
"Sometimes it is at 7am or 8am on Sundays."
Mother-of-three Iris Evans, aged 27, who also lives in Fegg Hayes, added: "They used to come once or twice a month, which wasn't a problem, but it is very annoying when it is several times a week and they are making a ridiculous noise."
Alan Joinson, chairman of East Bentilee residents' association, said collectors could avoid complaints if they chose to only visit estates at reasonable hours.
He said: "There was a period where we didn't get any collectors because it wasn't worth them going out.
"But the price of scrap metal has rocketed and we now get quite a few of them coming round.
"A lot of the time they do a good job and actually help out people who have something like a fridge they need to have taken away. I think they should be time-limited to between 9am and 6pm, which would help the complaints."
Local authorities have the power to deal with tradesmen using loud speakers in the street if it is reported as a nuisance by residents.
A spokesman for the city council said: "We investigate noise complaints we receive and public protection officers continue to work closely with the police to tackle the issue, where appropriate.
"To date, we have not had any reason to take formal enforcement action or consider prosecution.
"Residents who have concerns about noise from scrap metal collectors should call the council on 01782 234234."