Wandsworth family face eviction as London riots son pleads guilty to burglary


A mother and daughter have been served an eviction notice from their £225,000 Battersea council flat.


By Harry McAlister

A mother and daughter face eviction by Wandsworth Council as their son pleads guilty to burglary with intent to steal.

Rioter Daniel Sartain-Clarke, 18, yesterday admitted trying to steal electrical goods from Currys in Clapham Junction.

But his mother Maite de la Calva, 43, and eight-year-old sister have been served an eviction notice from their £225,000 council flat in Battersea.

Ms de la Calva said the decision has left her upset and with nowhere to go.

“I understand there are people who have got to face justice because all this has been madness and savagery, but as a mother, I’m not responsible for my son’s actions and they are penalising me,” she said.

Labour Councillor Tony Belton collected 2,000 signatures resisting the eviction and is leading the campaign against Wandsworth Council.

He says Ms de la Calva is the epitome of the ‘Big Society.’

The devout Christian is a pillar of the community and gives up her limited spare time to volunteer with youth charities and work with victims of domestic violence.

However, leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia says he wants the strongest possible action to be taken and he feels no shame in doing so.

“Our housing policy says ‘Don’t mess around with Wandsworth’,” he said.

Ms de la Calva’s lawyer Emma Norton called the council cynical and heartless.

“Ms de la Calva has committed no crime and if she lived in a mortgaged house she would not face such bullying.

“Whether in a mansion or a flat everyone should be equal before the law.”

Wandsworth Against Cuts member John Clossick says Wandsworth – David Cameron’s flagship council – is shamelessly competing for popularity by being the first to evict rioters.

Speaking on forced evictions in Manchester, an unsympathetic David Cameron quipped: “They should have thought of that before they started burgling.

“For too long we’ve taken a too-soft attitude towards people that loot and pillage their own community.

“If you do that you lose your right to the sort of housing that you’ve had.”

However human rights group Liberty backed Ms de la Calva this week, arguing that riot-related evictions are inherently unjust.

Such cases are becoming increasingly common across Britain.

A family of four also face eviction after their 12-year-old was pictured stealing a £7.49 bottle of wine during the Manchester riots.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “We will not tolerate any of our tenants being involved in anti-social behaviour, which is detrimental to our city.”

Meanwhile John Lines, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing, has pledged to evict all those involved in rioting and looting, describing them as ‘the scum of the earth’.

Wandsworth Council say they will begin eviction proceedings after Mr Sartain-Clarke’s second hearing on the 12th December.

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