A five-year-old girl selling lemonade to festivalgoers in Mile End was fined £150 for “trading without a permit”.
The girl and her father, Andre Spicer, set up the stand last Saturday to sell 50p cups of lemonade to thousands of music fans making their way to Lovebox Festival in Victoria Park.
After about 30 minutes, enforcement officers approached the stall and switched on their mobile cameras before reading a legal statement saying the pair would be fined £150 because they did not have a proper trading license.
Spicer, a business professor at City University, said his daughter burst into tears and asked ‘Have I done a bad thing?’ as they walked home.
Tower Hamlets Council said the fine would be cancelled “immediately” and it would contact the family to apologise. A spokeperson for the council said it expected its officers to use “common sense” whilst on duty.
Spicer said he tried to console his daughter by telling her they would try again after they got a permit but she declined saying it would be “too scary”.
In a comment piece in The Telegraph, Spicer called the incident “Lemonadegate” and wrote he was disappointed to see “the spirit of free enterprise being throttled in someone so young”.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council 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 have contacted Mr Spicer and his daughter to apologise.”