Rotten fish is being sold by rogue mobile sellers to unsuspecting North-east residents, sparking a public health warning.
Trading Standards said it has been made aware of elderly and vulnerable people in the area being pressured into purchasing excessive quantities of mislabelled or rotting fish.
Ron McNaughton, head of the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit at Food Standards Scotland, said those involved are fraudsters looking for quick profit.
He said: “Those who participate in food fraud have a complete disregard for the public they’re selling to. It is well known that fraudsters may target vulnerable groups who are unable to spot when they are being deceived, this is simply unacceptable.”
Mr McNaughton said the fish sold by the rogue traders poses an obvious risk to human health, coupled with a financial loss.
He said: “A problem like this can have an impact on the whole community, from the consumer purchasing potentially harmful produce, to responsible food businesses whose good reputation often suffers while unscrupulous practitioners are able to profit.”
Wilma Urquhart, trading standards manager, said the group have been running their scam across Scotland, and is urging people to check before they buy.
She added: “There are a few things customers should consider when buying fish including checking that pre-packaged fish is labelled with the type of fish, use by date, weight, storage conditions, name and address of the packer and whether it has been smoked, filleted or frozen.
“We’ve had reports that rogue mobile fish sellers are operating throughout Scotland so if you have bought fish and are concerned about its quality you should contact the Scottish Food Crime Hotline on 0800 028 7926 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”