Hackney Council has been forced to apologise to a retailer it falsely accused of having unauthorised Olympics merchandise on display.
Hamdy Shahein of Hamdy’s News in Stoke Newington high street was visited by trading standards officers on July 21 as the Olympic Torch Relay made its way through the area. The officers instructed Hamdy to remove signs and bunting from outside the store, believing them to be unauthorised copies of copyright-protected material.
Despite Hamdy’s protestations that the items had been purchased from a legitimate source, and support from the public which had turned out to watch the torch procession, he was forced to take them down when the local authority called the police and six officers arrived at his store.
The council later backed down when Hamdy provided evidence that it was legitimate. In a letter of apology to Hamdy, the local authority admitted its officer was working from an out-of-date list of copyright protected logos. andl apologised “unreservedly” to Hamdy as well as offering £2,200 compensation in recognition of the inconvenience caused.
Hamdy said that the apology was not enough and that it would not bring back the trade he lost because of the incident. “I lost a lot of business revenue since I was prevented from selling products which I had obtained through the correct legal channels,” he said. “I wanted to make the shop nice for the community but I couldn’t even watch anything to do with the Olympics because I was so upset about it.”