Newsagent fights Games banner ban

Newsagent refuses to remove Olympic buntingBarcroft

A Hackney newsagent has been ordered by local council officials to remove Olympics themed bunting and union jacks from outside his shop, Hamdy's News, in Stoke Newington. All because they breached LOCOG rules.

But owner Hamdy Shahein, for the most part, is sticking to his guns - he wants his shop to celebrate the Games.

Meddling officials

Ironically, the newsagent, Hamdy Shahein, a keen sportsman, has competed in almost 50 half-marathons himself. And he's unrepentant: "I told them that if it was breaking the rules then they will have to come and take it down themselves," he told the Mail.

Shahein is also, to make things more preposterous, an official Olympic retailer. Shahein was forced to remove some bunting and balloons - with pressure from six policemen and two trading standards officials - from outside his shop front when the Olympic torch passed his business last weekend. But he's not taking down the larger banner that hangs above his shop.

AOL Money rang LOCOG for a clarification of the draconian rules for local retailers, but they didn't respond. Is is thought the Olympic Symbol Act and the Trade Marks Act means that Trading Standards officers can insist on the removal of all Olympic-related products - even bunting.

Criminal fines

And breaches of the rules can mean unlimited fines, plus criminal liability. Even for using or promoting the Olympics ring symbol. Or the words 'London 2012' and 'summer', according to a leading law firm.

Plenty of other business have been affected by the rules. The Duchess of Cambridge's family, owner of Party Pieces, has had a brush with the branding madness. LOCOG examined Party Pieces website and asked it to make changes to Olympic-related text. A cafe in Plymouth had to abandon marketing "flaming torch baguettes" on the torch route.

The other side of the coin to LOCOG's overbearing officiousness is... money. Without all the branding carry-on, UK taxpayers would be forced to dig much deeper to cover the Games' cost, so it's claimed.

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Newsagent fights Games banner ban

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Worth: $259 million. Had David Beckham been selected for the Team GB squad to play in his home city this summer, he would have jointed the ranks of the best-paid Olympians


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