Council chiefs are warning people not to buy from a rogue mattress seller who has been on the prowl in Derby, Derbyshire. It comes after a Littleover resident was conned into buying what Derby City Council described as a "lumpy, useless mattress". According to its trading standards team, the mattress was sold by a sun-tanned man, aged around 60 and who was driving a white Transit van with the word 'Dreamers' on it.
A statement issued by the council said: "He's been stopping people in the street saying that he has a spare undelivered mattress that he does not want to take back to the warehouse and can therefore offer it at a bargain price.
Only after buying what appeared to be a crisp new mattress for as much as £180 did people realise that they've been tricked. The van and driver now disappeared from sight, victims stranded with a worthless product, out of pocket and no means of seeking a refund."
Lisa Arnold, fair trading officer at the council, advised people not to buy from the rogue trader.
She said: "These rogue dealers either recover old, filthy and worn-out mattresses to make them appear as new or it may be a cheaply produced paillasse that fails to meet UK safety standards and could be a fire hazard."
The National Bed Federation believes hundreds, possibly thousands, of so-called "bargain mattresses" are being sold across the country each week. The sales are often straight from the back of vans by rogue traders.
Councillor Baggy Shanker, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said people risked death if they bought from a rogue trader.
He said: "If you don't know them, don't buy it. At worst, it could cost you your life. If you are approached please take a note of the registration number and make of the vehicle and a description of the seller and report this to Trading Standards.
We will do all in our power to ensure that we bring the full weight of the law to bear on these unconscionable and unscrupulous traders."