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Council investigating roadside fruit and veg stall in Dungannon

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Dougie Allen insists he stuck to social distancing rules, and has donated fruit and veg for charity food parcels

Dougie Allen insists he stuck to social distancing rules, and has donated fruit and veg for charity food parcels

Dougie Allen insists he stuck to social distancing rules, and has donated fruit and veg for charity food parcels

Mid Ulster District Council has confirmed it is considering the appropriate course of action after a local fruit and veg trader was caught selling produce on the Stangmore Road in Dungannon without a licence.

A spokesperson confirmed the council had been made aware of the situation.

"There are no street trading licences issued for the Stangmore Road," they said.

"Police did attend the area at the weekend. We are aware of the issue and are considering appropriate action."

The proprietor of Dougie's Farm Shop, Dougie Allen, confirmed he was spoken to by police, but insisted he was following social distancing guidelines.

"I usually set up on private land just off the Stangmore Road, but due to the virus the owner of the land thought it would be better if I wasn't in the field," said Dougie.

"There is a wide area on the Stangmore Road and there is where I set myself up.

"I have been doing what I was supposed to, I have been using gloves and keeping hand sanitiser near and also ensuring social distancing in the line. I thought everybody was very happy, certainly the customers seemed to be."

He continued: "The local community say I do a good job and I work with community organisations - Dungannon Swifts are doing food parcels and I give them produce for those parcels.

"There is a church in town who are doing similar and I also donate stuff to them and since this crisis has started, I have given fruit and vegetables away to all the NHS workers that come to me for free.

"I am more than glad to do it."

The popular fresh fruit and vegetable trader also claimed he is offering a unique service for the area, but is now pessimistic about its future.

"There is nothing like what I am offering locally," he said.

"I have asked council if they can grant me a temporary licence to trade in this spot during the crisis," he said.

"Unfortunately, council's environmental health team have told me that if I return, I will be subject to a fine.

"I will have to go somewhere else, hopefully I can find somewhere, if I can't, that will be me out of business."

The PSNI confirmed it spoke with a fruit and vegetable salesman on Easter Saturday.

"Police received a report on Saturday morning (April, 11) at approximately 11.25am about a male selling fruit and vegetables outdoors, on the Moy Road, Dungannon.

"Police attended the location and spoke with the male. The matter has been passed to the local council."

Belfast Telegraph