Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 11:00 UK

Stalls closed in hoopla clampdown

Two hoopla stalls on Blackpool promenade have been closed after complaints stallholders had been conning and intimidating customers.

The stalls were raided by Blackpool Council officers after customers complained they had lost money.

Council workers used undercover cameras to gather evidence before closing the stalls and seizing their documentation.

The stalls were said to be targeting vulnerable people such as the young and those with learning disabilities.

'Aggressive' businesses

There were allegations that customers were told it was guaranteed they would win and some were even being taken to cash machines to withdraw more money.

The council said it wanted to protect people from "aggressive" businesses.

A Statutory Prohibition Notice was also issued to one of the stall owners due to the dangerous state of the electrical equipment and worries over the safety of the toys that they were giving out as prizes.

Councillor Maxine Callow, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Quality Standards, said: "We take the protection of our residents and visitors very seriously and we aim to protect them from businesses that use deception and aggression as a sales technique.

"The council is committed to cleaning up the town and we will do everything in our power to stop illegal and unsafe trading".

Hoopla is a traditional fairground game in which a player tries to throw a hoop over an object to win it.

The council said there were no longer any hoopla stalls on the promenade.

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