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East London council enforcement officers are facing an angry backlash after they shut down a five-year-old girl’s lemonade stand before fining her father £150.
The outrage came after it emerged the young child burst in to tears and told her dad “I’ve done a bad thing” after Tower Hamlets officers shut the stall down.
The officers were branded “contemptible idiots” by angry Twitter users, with others saying the “unbelievable” incident left a “sour taste” in their mouth.
Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell joined the social media 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.”
Others told of how the enforcement officers showed no common sense, unnecessarily “crushing the heart of a child.”
One social media user said: “As though it’s not hard enough raising children these days, this will stick with her for a long time causing confusion. Way to go morons.”
Another added: “Makes my heart bleed… there’s no way I’d crush the heart of a child! Shame common sense ain’t so common nowadays.”
Some furious Londoners even said that the four officers should lose their jobs over the “outrageous” decision, with others branding them the “fun police.”
One commenter wrote: “Surely our councils have better things to do than this! Bonkers!”
The outrage came after Andre Spicer told how four officers read a lengthy legal letter to him and his five-year-old before slapping him with the fine on Saturday.
Before the social media storm, Mr Spicer said he was told if this had happened in America “it would be a national scandal.”
The City University professor also said a friend told him it was an example of how “we are discouraging budding female entrepreneurs.”
He said four enforcement officers stormed up to the table just 30 minutes after they set up the stand, where they were selling one large cup of the fizzy drink for £1 and a small glass for 50p to revellers heading to Lovebox festival in Victoria Park.
After it was approached by the Standard, Tower Hamlets Council promised to cancel the fine “immediately” and said it would contact the family to apologise.
A spokesman for the council said it expected its enforcement officers “to show common sense” when using their powers, adding that in this case “This clearly did not happen.”
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