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Henry Sandon, one of the best-known figures in the British antiques world, joined forces with Iain Brunt, editor of antiques.co.uk, to call for more support for the industry.

Dozens of people have signed up on the website, with many leaving strong supporting comments.

Ros King of Heatons echoed many when she commented: “As we are the chief trade for recycling goods from many centuries and bring in overseas buyers and business, the continuation of small business rate relief is crucial.”

Others noted how red tape and taxes had led to the disappearance of many high street antique shops, a factor now accelerated by generally tougher times for trading.

Several referred to the heritage and tourism advantages enjoyed by neighbouring businesses thanks to the antiques trade in places such as Portobello, saying it was time to repay such benefits and protect them for the future.

Click here to visit the website for the petition.