Mayor apologises to Hackney newsagent over Olympic bunting bungle
Stoke Newington newsagent is considering suing Hackney Council over ‘fake’ goods slur
Hackney’s Mayor Jules Pipe has apologised to a popular newsagent who was forced to remove celebratory decorations from his shop on the day the Olympic Torch relay passed by.
In a letter to Hamdy Shahein of Hamdy’s newsagent in Stoke Newington, Mayor Pipe said he was sorry for the actions of the trading standards officers who told Mr Shahein to remove his bunting, adding that he believed the officers acted “over-zealously and in a manner out of proportion to the situation”.
In his letter, which is on display in the Stoke Newington High Street shop’s window, the Mayor said the trading standards team were sorry for the mistake and have accepted that Mr Shahein’s Olympic goods were fully authorised for sale.
Mr Shahein was accused by trading standards officers of using fake or unlicensed Olympic products on July 21st and was told to remove his decorations. He says he has a licence from a wholesaler to sell these goods as an official Olympic seller, and was decorating his shop so it would look festive for the Olympics.
Mr Shahein, a hugely respected figure in the community, this week told the Hackney Citizen he was still shaken by the incident and is considering suing the council.
He said he lost money and had his reputation tarnished as a result of the Town Hall’s actions.
He said: “I’m looking for a full public apology, from the council, trading standards, and the police.”
However, he added he did not believe the incident was the fault of the police.
He said the trading standards officers had “almost grabbed” his hand and told him to remove his decorations.
Six police officers then arrived and forced him to comply.
Mr Shahein said he felt like shutting up his shop for the day and going home.
A single strip of ‘Team GB’ bunting was taken from the shop to be checked, while scores of other Olympic products on display (including flags, toys, and pencils) were not touched. Mr Shahein said he took these products off sale while trading standards were checking his licence, and now has a huge number of Olympic products left over.
He is trying to shift these at half-price, having missed the best fortnight in history in which to sell them.
Mr Shahein has given some of the same bunting to Stoke Newington Fire Station, who used it to decorate their building.
Mr Shahein said his customers have been very supportive, adding: “All my customers say I should be suing them.”
When asked whether he will do so, he said: “I am thinking about it.”