Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 13:34 UK

Big Issue sellers get new jacket

Big Issue sellers
The Big Issue gives homeless people an opportunity to earn money

Big Issue sellers in Bournemouth have been kitted-out with fluorescent jackets to stamp out "rogue traders".

Police received complaints claiming that some people selling the magazine on the street had been threatening.

All legitimate sellers - who are homeless or in vulnerable housing - will sell from designated town centre pitches wearing the jackets.

An investigation found that the majority of those behaving badly were not official sellers.

Staff at The Big Issue's Bournemouth branch joined forces with Dorset Police deciding that legitimate sellers of the magazine should wear a red and green jacket, which is already successful in other parts of the country.

'Tarnished reputation'

Sgt Anna Harvey, from Dorset Police, said: "This will make it easier for people to purchase a magazine from an official seller and will help the police to identify, and take positive enforcement action against, anyone trading fraudulently or acting in an anti-social manner."

The jackets have been purchased with funding from Bournemouth Borough Council's community trust fund and the Bournemouth Businesses Reducing Crime (BBRC) group.

Sam Allen, manager of The Big Issue's Bournemouth branch, said those who had sold the magazine illicitly had "tarnished the reputation" of official sellers.

She said: "The Big Issue exists to give homeless and vulnerably-housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income.

"I am hopeful that the implementation of this scheme in Bournemouth town centre will go some way to repairing this damage."

Each official seller of the magazine will have paid a £15 refundable deposit for the jacket, without which they will not be allowed to sell copies of The Big Issue.

Trainee sellers are allocated a temporary pitch on Commercial Road or outside Bournemouth Library for two weeks after gaining an authorised seller's badge and therefore, will not necessarily be wearing jackets.

However, all legitimate sellers should have their badge clearly visible to show that they are legally allowed to sell the magazine.

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