'Tip-off' fear over trading standards inspections plan

Clipboard and pen
Image caption Spot-check inspections can be carried out by trading standards officers at present

Fraudsters could be "tipped off" about inspections by trading standards officers if planned new rules come into force, a lobby group has said.

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has warned of the "unintended consequences" of a plan to give two days' notice of inspections.

It has been in a long-running dispute with the government over the proposal, which ministers say will cut costs for law-abiding firms.

A group of MPs is studying the plan.

A deadline has now been reached for submissions to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, which is scrutinising the draft Consumer Rights Bill.

The proposed legislation includes the plan which would require officers to give a warning of at least two days for routine inspections, and explain the reason for the inspection.

The government says that this is part of a policy to reduce the burden of regulation on businesses.

However, Andy Foster, of the TSI, told The Independent that "the only people that gain from this are the fraudsters and the conmen". He said fraudulent businesses, such as counterfeiters, would be able to get rid of evidence before inspectors arrived.

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