Stoke Newington author resigns after shoplifting comments

A first-time novelist has resigned from his highflying job working for the mayor of London after he appeared to suggest in a publicity interview that he enjoyed shoplifting.

Tom Campbell, 39, who lives in Stoke Newington with his wife and three children, was offered a two-book deal by major publishing company Bloomsbury after he wrote ‘Fold’ in his spare time.

But when he was interviewed by the Evening Standard last week he was quoted as saying that he often stole food from big supermarkets and restaurant chains because they harm independent businesses. He said he stole so the chains would be unable to make a profit from him.

A spokesman for the Greater London Authority (GLA) said: “Tom has offered his resignation as a freelance consultant to the GLA.

“He insists that the Evening Standard have misrepresented him and that words intended in a light-hearted and playful manner were taken to imply criminal behaviour.

“He recognises that - however intended - most readers could understandably suspect that he was admitting to shoplifting He acknowledges that this is patently unacceptable for someone who is employed by a public body paid for by taxpayers money. The GLA have accepted his resignation.”

Mr Campbell refused an interview with the Gazette, but his literary agent Antony <correct> Topping, of Green and Heaton, echoed the GLA’s comment that Mr Campbell had been misrepresented.

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He added that the comments were intended to be a joke, were expressed in the spirit of the novel, and were taken out of context.

‘Fold’ is out now and is about the lives of five men who regularly meet for poker games.