Police are defending the arrests of five illegal vendors in Port of Spain on Friday.

During the exercise, municipal officers went to Independence Square, Frederick Street, and Charlotte Street. Several make-shift stalls containing goods were found

A 30-year-old man, of Bagatelle, Diego Martin, was charged for using a vehicle contrary to registration, willful obstruction and offering for sale marketable commodities.

The others were charged with offering for sale marketable commodities, willful obstruction and unlawful pitch of a stall, offences which are contrary to the Municipal Corporations Act.

All five were granted station bail in the amount of $1,500.

The exercise was led Ag Sgt Green and was conducted by officers of the Port of Spain Municipal Police Task Force.

The TTPS issued a statement on the arrests on its Facebook site, and responded to criticism that it should go find the real criminals causing chaos across Trinidad and Tobago.

The TTPS stated: “Please note.

Making an honest living from conducting an illegal activity is by definition oxymoronic.

In the absence of order, chaos reigns.

There are designated areas throughout the country for vending and market vending.

It is intrinsically unfair to other vendors and their families, who choose to obey the law, by plying their wares at designated areas, to have others get a competitive advantage by conducting business at prime locations, without paying the necessary fees for the maintenance and upgrade of said facilities.

At designated facilities, proper mechanisms exist for adherence to public health protocols.

Bathrooms and running water are necessary components to reduce the risk to the public, who, as an example, may get ill from contaminated goods.

At designated facilities, weights and measures inspectors patrol to ensure the public is not defrauded when making purchases.

The TTPS has many different divisions and units and doing our job in one area in no way inhibits our ability to perform in the others.

Notwithstanding this, we are aware of the difficulties the worldwide pandemic has had on all citizens, but please understand that our role is to enforce the law to the benefit of all citizens, especially in these trying times, lest all order crumbles and we find ourselves in a situation where we make excuses for every manner of illegal behaviour in the name of 'poor', survival and 'honest living'”.