Five-year-old girl fined by council for selling lemonade offered a stall by Borough Market

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A five-year-old whose lemonade stand selling refreshments to festival goers in east London was shut down by the council has been inundated with offers to open stalls on markets across the capital.

Andre Spicer said his daughter burst into tears and told him “I’ve done a bad thing” after enforcement officers read out a lengthy legal letter before issuing him the notice near their home in Mile End.

The youngster and Mr Spicer, a professor at City University, were given a £150 fine for “trading without a permit”.

After it was contacted by the Standard, Tower Hamlets Council promised to cancel the fine “immediately” and said it would contact the family to apologise.

However, Mr Spicer branded the enforcement officers’ decision an “over-zealous way of applying the rules,” after the pair set out to refresh festival goers heading to Lovebox in Victoria Park last Saturday.

lovebox.jpg

Andre Spicer and his five-year-old daughter set out to sell refreshments for festival-goers heading to Lovebox (Rex Features)

The professor said four officers stormed up to the table just 30 minutes after the pair had set up the stand, where they were selling one large cup of the fizzy drink for £1 and a small glass for 50p.

Mr Spicer, who described the enforcement staff’s application of trading rules as “over-zealous”, was contacted by Borough Market offering his child to hold a stall on the popular tourist hotspot.

In a tweet to the father, they wrote: “in all seriousness, would your daughter like to sell some lemonade at Borough Market? We’d love to make that happen for her.”

He was also contacted by the organisers of Kent’s LeeFest, offering his daughter the opportunity to sell her wares at the music event.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he wrote: “We have been overwhelmed by the kind responses from across the world. 

“Dozens of festivals, markets and businesses have offered us an opportunity to set up a lemonade stand.”

He went on to say that he hoped the offers would be extended to other youngsters keen to sell their good or share creative offerings. 

Supporters of the Spicer family took to social media branding the officers “complete idiots”. 

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell joined the fury, adding that the story is “the British state summed up in one news item.”

Another Twitter user wrote: “This would only happen in England! What a joke, whoever issued that clearly doesn’t have [the] mental capacity to work in their role.” 

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “We are very sorry that this has happened. We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen.   

“The fine will be cancelled immediately and we will be contacting Professor Spicer and his daughter to apologise.”


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