Stolen goods being sold on at street markets, investigation finds

Girls in headscarves in Amsterdam.
A street market in Amsterdam.

Market stalls are being used to sell stolen goods taken from Dutch stores, according to details of an investigation by justice ministry officials published in the AD.

Some stallholders have regular contact with Eastern European shoplifting gangs, conducted through Dutch intermediaries. A Dutch market trader was recently given a 15-month jail sentence for arranging accommodation on a holiday park for members of a Romanian shoplifting gang.

The investigation found that the third parties buy the stolen goods from the shoplifters before selling them on to traders. Sometimes goods are stolen to order.

Henk Achterhuis, chairman of the┬áCentral Mobile Traders’ Association (CVAH), said the problem mainly arose at temporary markets, such as annual markets and car boot sales, rather than fixed stalls. ‘Permits are issued without the municipality knowing exactly who is doing business there and what they are selling,’ he said.

The investigation team said local authorities needed to do more to prevent the trade in stolen goods. Maarten Struijvenberg, alderman on Rotterdam City Council, said the municipality had recently tightened up its rules for issuing trading permits.

‘Regular market traders, as well as us, noticed sprawling growth in this area,’ he said. ‘So we changed the rules. These kinds of markets are now mainly organised by shopkeepers’ or residents’ associations or sports clubs. I expect that will ensure there is enough control to ensure that the trade in stolen goods no longer accounts for the lion’s share.’

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