Written by Harry Porter
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Topics: Police, Scotland

Monday, 16 May 2005

image for Police Crackdown on G8 ‘Sharp Practices'
Staff at the Authentic St Andrews Placard Shoppe proudly display the new G8 range.

Police in Scotland have launched a special task force to thwart unscrupulous traders aiming to cash in on the army of demonstrators expected for the G8 Summit.

Cafes, restaurants, take-aways and roadside stalls have been planning massive hikes in their prices that would rival the tariffs at Gleneagles where the leaders of the world's most powerful countries will be meeting.

Inspector Sefton Delmer, who is leading the Tayside Police taskforce in Operation Deepfry, said: "Scotland is renowned around the world for its friendliness and hospitality and we will be making every effort to ensure our good name is not sullied by those trying to make some easy money by exploiting visitors to these shores."

In Auchterarder, the nearest village to the luxurious hotel and golf complex, there is ample evidence Operation Deepfry has its work cut out.

Luciano's Fish and Chip Bar, 23-25 Main Street, is preparing a ‘Demonstrator's Dinner' menu comprising Sour Mutton Broth, Fustie Scotch Pie and Chips, Deep Fried Mars Bar and Syrup - for the princely sum of £25.75.

Owner Mungo McTavish defended his prices, claiming tourists would not see his menu as particularly expensive.

"Protestors are coming here from across the globe and will be busy with their placards and their cheery anti-establishment songs. At the end of a busy day demonstrating, we'll be able to provide them with an authentic taste of traditional Caledonian cuisine. We are offering good value and that will be recognised."

But it's not just food that has suddenly rocketed in price.

A number of farmers have turned their fields over as campsites, charging £120 for a pitch and a further £5.75 every time a camper uses the sewage trench.

Stallholders are also grabbing the opportunity to rake in some extra funds. Sports socks, normally two pairs for a pound, are up to a tenner, anti-globalisation lucky plastic white heather is retailing at £7.50 a sprig in the village post office, while the Scottish Executive approved ‘G8 - it's a stoater' tee-shirt is selling locally for £25 - 50% over its recommended retail price.

"It is this type of exploitative marketing that we will be cracking down on," added Inspector Delmer. "We will be working closely with trading standards officers to blunt these sharp practices.

"We will have thousands of officers involved in the security of the G8 summit and will not tolerate seeing them being fleeced of £7.50 any time they fancy a cup of tea and a Kit Kat."

However, the local Rotary Club has praised the initiative of the business community while Scottish Enterprise has actually assisted some new business start-ups.

The ‘Authentic St Andrews Placard Shoppe', which claims it was founded in 1313 by Royal Appointment to Robert the Bruce, has had it premises refurbished and doubled its staffing since its business plan won financial backing from SE.

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