TRADERS have claimed they are the victim of racism after they were told they were no longer welcome at Morpeth market.
Terry Tait has run the German bratwurst booth with his wife Regina at Morpeth Farmers’ Market for the past nine months, building up a solid customer base.
But when the Pegswood couple turned up late at last month’s event they found they could not get onto their pitch.
And on Saturday Mr Tait said he was ordered to stop trading by Northumberland County Council officials because he was selling foreign food.
“We have been there nine months and we were told we had to cease trading because we were selling foreign food,” he said.
“It is looking on the racist side.
“We came a month ago and we were late in the morning, but our area had stalls in the way so we couldn’t get on. One of the organisers said he would see what he could do, but it would be too late by the time we got set up so we went home.
“On Saturday, they asked us to move off, which I refused to do. I didn’t trade on Saturday. I paid my rent and just left it there all day.
“We were good enough for nine months, but not now it seems.”
Mr Tait travels to Germany every four or five weeks to stock up with the famous sausages, but uses local suppliers for buns and other items.
The couple get up at 4am on market days to prepare their stall and they are furious that they were given no prior notice of the change.
“We were given no prior notification whatsoever. Even when I said we were going home the last time they never said they didn’t want us. When we turned up on Saturday we were told then that they didn’t want us there,” said Mr Tait.
“I think it is a disgrace the way we were treated. We had got up at four o’ clock in the morning to prepare.”
He added: “It is racism at the end of the day. If they didn’t want me there then why let me trade all these months?”
The pair will continue trading in Newcastle on Sundays.
A council spokeswoman dismissed Mr Tait’s claims of racism and said he had indicated he no longer wished to attend the market.
She said: “The council was informed by Mr Tait at a previous farmers’ market that he would no longer be trading at our farmers’ market and as such a replacement trader was appointed, who turned up to trade at our August farmers’ market.
“We very much welcome Mr Tait to come and trade at our weekly Wednesday market, which offers greater flexibility for the range of goods which can be sold. The usual criteria for our farmers’ markets is for locally-produced products.”