AN ICE cream man was caught trading illegally by a vigilant headteacher.

Hassan Ali has been ordered to pay £630 for selling from his van without a permit, after Bolton School Girls Division head Sue Hincks spotted him outside the school gates and reported him to town hall bosses.

Bolton Magistrates Court heard that Ali, aged 46, had been refused a street trading licence in 2016. But the council’s licensing team received a tip-off last year that he was still selling ice cream at summer fairs and events.

The team shared Ali’s vehicle details with schools across the borough and, on May 26, 2017, staff at Bolton School noticed an ice cream van trading outside the Kidzone childcare centre in Dobson Road.

The eagle-eyed Miss Hincks noticed that the vehicle registration of the van matched the one circulated by licensing and went to speak to the driver.

As she approached the van, two girls were coming away from the vehicle eating ice creams.

She asked to see Ali’s licence, but he drove off and she later reported the incident to the licensing unit. Ali, of Netherfield Road, was sent a letter under caution and later admitted trading in Dobson Street without a valid street trading consent.

He pleaded guilty to trading without having the required street trading consent in place. He was fined £145, and ordered to pay £462 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “Our street trading laws are there to protect people. We are not here to persecute businesses operating legitimately. However, if someone trades without the necessary consent we will take action.

"In this case Ali was not granted a licence, and he thought he could get away with it. He didn’t bank on our licensing team circulating his details and we are very grateful to Bolton School for being vigilant and taking action so swiftly.

“This result should send a message to other street traders that we will crack down on behaviour like this.”