Tuk tuk moved on for hitting trade!

Tuk tuk fruit and veg trader Stewart Effendi, who has upset Co-op bosses by trading next to one of the firm's stores in Aston.
Tuk tuk fruit and veg trader Stewart Effendi, who has upset Co-op bosses by trading next to one of the firm's stores in Aston.

A supermarket giant asked for a tiny tuk tuk firm selling fruit and vegetables to move – because it was hitting trade.

Stewart Effendi’s motorised business has operated from the car park of the Co-operative on Worksop Road, Aston, near Rotherham, on weekends for the past nine months.

It is popular with elderly people who he also delivers to during the week.

But the firm has now moved to a new site because bosses at the Co-operative HQ complained to the private landowner.

Stewart, of Aston, told The Star: “I just can’t believe that a big company like that could be threatened by a little tuk tuk.

“The Co-operative already monopolises the area, they have three sites close by, so how can I possibly be a threat?

“I don’t even sell the same things.

“The £200 I take on a weekend can’t possibly be taking trade away from them.

“I’ve been told that one of the managers from head office drove past and said that I am taking business away when they pay good rent to be there.”

Stewart believed the car park was council land and thought he could trade there with a pedlar’s licence.

But the landowners said they were unaware of the tuk tuk until recently but it was trading without permission on private land and they had a legal duty to ask it to move on.

Stewart, originally from South Africa, and wife Sally set up their venture last year with business support from Rotherham College and the town’s chamber of commerce.

Sally added: “It is ridiculous – I think it is bordering on being cruel.

“Our new site is allowing Stewart to go on there and they are really happy about that.”

From today the business will operate at the former Wetherby pub car park off Park Hill, Swallownest, on weekends and Monday mornings.

A spokesman for the landowner said: “One of our tenants got in touch to say that somebody was trading without permission in the car park which is a private car park and that was making a difference to their business. We have spoken to Mr Effendi and said that as far as we are concerned our tenants are entitled to quiet enjoyment of these premises, that’s one of the conditions of the lease.

“He was very pleasant about it and said he would move on.

“I wasn’t aware of it, when they brought it to my attention we took appropriate action and the only action that is available.”

A Co-op spokesman said: “We understand there has been a trader operating on a private car park at Town End without the owner’s permission. However, as this is a matter between the trader and the landlord it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”