Owen sez, "London's Westminster City Council has bought the copyright to the design of its street signs and intends virogously to pursue it against people selling T-shirts, keyrings and mugs that infringe upon the design."
Westminster Council's Martin Low said, "In buying the copyright, we felt we needed to retain an element of control over the signs to maintain Westminster's image as a world class tourist destination."
The problem of the counterfeit signs – which are produced on everything from mugs to t-shirts to mouse mats – has ruined thousands of holidays and besmirched Westminster's international reputation.
Tourist Mariella Bogus from Sacramento, California, said:
I paid £2.99 in good faith for a 'Leicester Square' fridge magnet from a street vendor, but it wasn't until I got it home that I noticed that the font was wrong and the proportions slightly out of whack. Whatever the font's meant to be it's not sodding Arial and while I can't afford a Pantone swatch book that red doesn't look like the proper Westminster red either.
I emailed the council's trading standards department who were very sympathetic but said that there was nothing they could do. Thank goodness that's all changing now and people like me will get the protection we deserve from these unscrupulous hawkers. Now I feel that I can go back to London and shop safely again.
Souvenir sellers have until the end of the month to buy a licence from Westminster Council or face the full might of the law.