A little girl was left ‘in tears’ after she was fined £150 for selling cups of homemade lemonade to Lovebox festival-goers in London.
The schoolgirl was accused by the council of ‘trading without a licence’ last Saturday, her father, Andre Spicer, said.
A Tower Hamlets council officer issued the fixed penalty notice demanding £150, or £90 if the family agreed to pay within two weeks.
Writing an article for the Telegraph, Mr Spicer said:
My daughter burst into tears, repeating again and again ‘have I done a bad thing?’
After five minutes, the officers’ jobs were done and they went on their way. We packed up and made the short walk home. My daughter sobbed all the way.
When my she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required. But this was a five-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.
But Andre, who is a Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Cass Business School, said that, after around half an hour, the official approached them and ‘immediately launched into a legalistic script’.
He said he was ‘shocked’, and the difference between his five-year-old’s lemonade stall and an unlicensed street trader should have been ‘common sense’.
Took 5 year old daughter to end of our road to run lemonade stand. Fined £180. She's now sobbing, 'I did a bad thing'. Thx @TowerHamletsNow
— André Spicer (@andre_spicer) July 15, 2017
But Mr Spicer said it was ‘worrying’ that his daughter had been issued with the fine.
Now, after Lemonadegate, as I contemplate the long school holidays which lay ahead, I’m even more confused about how to entertain our children. Setting up a lemonade stand is obviously far too risky.
Perhaps I should just rely on that good old fashioned parenting technique – handing my daughter an iPad so she can spend hours watching a creepy guy opening up toys he has just bought.
A spokeswoman for the local authority told the Evening Standard:
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.
Hopefully the little girl can move on and start selling her lemonade again.