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News of the World sign returned to Croydon newsagent

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NEWS International has returned the valuable antique sign it "mistakenly" took from above a Surrey Street newsagents.

The valuable News Of The World sign above Tulletts was taken without permission in September by Positive Group, contracted by News International.

Shopkeeper Daxit Patel had rebuffed offers of up to £80,000 for the famous sign, even before the newspaper was closed down by News International.

The media giant has now replaced it and sent Mr Patel a letter of apology, claiming it made a genuine mistake.

Mr Patel said: "I am happy my sign is back - but I do not believe it was a mistake."

The sign was removed in mysterious circumstances, with several men reportedly hanging around in the street asking passers-by at what time the shop normally closed.

Mr Patel contacted the police after it was taken, and the incident was being treated as theft.

He said "Police looked at the CCTV and saw a grey van pull up. They were there for an hour and a half after dark removing the sign."

He then entered into long discussions with News International and became frustrated at the lack of progress.

"It took months to sort out. I kept phoning them and they kept ignoring my requests," he said.

"Eventually, they put the sign back in early January and replaced the shop canopy they destroyed."

Mr Patel now plans to remove the sign, which an expert has told him will continue to increase in value with time.

"I am going to have a duplicate made professionally and put the sign into storage because too many people want to take it from me now," he said.

"But I am very happy and my customers are also very happy the sign is back. It's what they know my shop for."

News International did not want to comment when approached by the Advertiser this week.


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