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London Riot Victims Left Homeless Could Be Denied Compensation After Receiving Accepted Charity Donation

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The Tottenham Carpetright store burns on the first night of the riots
The Tottenham Carpetright store burns on the first night of the riots

Victims left homeless by the London riots who accepted donations from a wealthy businessman are to be denied official government compensation, it has been alleged.

Carpetright boss Lord Harris gave £2,500 each to help families who were burnt out of their homes above the Tottenham branch on the first night of the riots in August.

The Tory peer said that because they accepted the payments from him the Home Office was now going to cut their official compensation.

"I'm told they are going to get some money off the Home Office, but the Home Office are going to deduct the money they received from me, which I think is very wrong," he told the BBC's World at One programme today.

"I gave them the money to help them over that time and I will be speaking to the Home Office about that."

The image of the Carpetright building aflame became one of the most iconic images of the riots that spread across London and England in the summer.

Lord Harris added: "Many of them still haven't got any homes and we should be doing more to make sure they get homes as quickly as possible, because there's nothing they have done at all.

"They are being penalised for something the rioters did to them."

Defending the decision the Metropolitan Police Authority, who has responsibility for the government payouts, said that if Lord Harris cared so much he should just make further payments to the families.

"If a claimant for compensation under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 has received a payment of any sort from another source, such as an insurance company, charity or local authority, in strict accordance with the Act this sum must be deducted from the claim against the Metropolitan Police Authority and the sum will be reimbursed to the third party," a spokesman said.

"Following full compliance with the Act it is, of course, within the power of the original donor to repeat the original donation."

The news comes as Scotland Yard announced a series of raids on suspected summer rioters.

Search warrants were executed at around 100 addresses across London in the early hours of Wednesday in a bid to arrest those involved in the August disturbances.

The Metropolitan Police said the public had helped to identify many of the suspects wanted over the violence and disorder seen across the capital.

Detective Superintendent Robin Bhairam said: "Today's activity is an indication that, four months on from the incidents seen across London, we remain absolutely committed to identifying and arresting those responsible for the disorder.

"Following on from the release of over 200 suspect images on Flickr as part of the Winter Withern Campaign, I would like to thank all those who have responded to our appeal in helping us to identify those wanted.

"A number of people have been identified and inquiries are still ongoing. There are still a number of people we wish to speak with and I would encourage anyone who has any information to please let us know."

A 17-year-old boy was arrested at a flat in Hackney, east London, this morning on suspicion of violent disorder.

The teenager, who is believed to have thrown bricks at police during the riots, was woken by officers at around 6.30am and led out of his flat in handcuffs.

Mr Bhairam added: "Searches like those carried out today are happening on a daily basis and my message to those who were involved in criminality is that you will not get away with it.

"We have a huge team of dedicated officers working on this investigation and we will find you. We are determined to bring those who committed these outrageous acts of criminality to justice and we will continue to make arrests."

Four months on from the disorder the Met has made 3,423 arrests for a variety of offences and 2,179 people have been charged or summonsed.

Officers made 77 arrests on Wednesday in the biggest day of action since the Operation began, Scotland Yard said.

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