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Wandering back from an interview near parliament today, I passed by where all the horse and carriages are parked up - not all in the shade - just off the Borne.

Never mind having to dodge the cruise passengers, I suddenly found myself surrounded by street traders. There must have been nearly 30. Some had their "top manta" blankets laid out while others had them slung over their shoulders looking for a pitch.

To be honest, they were not giving anyone a hard sell, most of the tourists showed no interest at all in the tat they were selling. But it was not an impressive and attractive picture and a few of the visitors were obviously quite shocked at the gaggle of hawkers, shouting at each other and just lazing about in the shade.

However, what struck me the most was that no less than 100 metres away were the local police: two local rozzers just standing there deeply immersed in conversation. I was under the impression that street trading is illegal.

The poor street artists, many of whom are extremely talented, have to go through a selection process in order to get permission from the city council, while the hawkers can just pitch up anywhere and now appear to be trading in small gangs.

They are also talking about creating a union to defend their rights. I think the council needs to get a grip of the situation.