Hundreds of people are urging Wandsworth Council to rethink evicting families of suspected rioters.

More than 1,500 signed a petition against the authority's stance after Maite de Calva, 43, became the first person to be handed an eviction notice from her council flat - a notice served in response to her son being charged with offences during the Battersea riots.

The petition reached the 1,500 mark today - the same day campaign group The Social Justice Collective arranged a 5pm to 8pm protest outside the Wandsworth home of council leader, Councillor Ravi Govindia.

Ms de Calva, who lives in Battersea with her son Daniel Sartain-Clarke and her eight-year-old daughter, has received support from Latchmere ward councillor, Tony Belton, who branded the council's actions "wrong, immoral, pointless and family destructive".

Robert Davidson, a postgraduate student living in Wandsworth, launched the petition campaign this week on

He said: "I'm as upset as anyone about the riots, but evicting vulnerable families from their homes will only deepen the social rift that led to the riots.

“I have friends that live in Clapham and Croydon and I heard the sirens screaming up and down Garratt Lane.

"I detest the rioting and looting that went on. Of course we need to punish criminals but I just don't see why an eight-year-old child or a mum should be evicted from their home just because a young boy got caught up in some trouble.

"This kind of collective punishment is only going to make innocent people feel hated by society and is going to cause more problems in future."

Coun Govindia said: "Wandsworth Council has been criticised for its decision to evict tenants if they - or one of their household - are found guilty of being involved in last week's looting and rioting.

"We did not come to this decision lightly and it was not a knee-jerk reaction. We wanted to send out a clear message: actions have consequences.

"This was a tough call, but having seen the destruction in the borough and watched CCTV footage, I don't doubt that we have made the right decision. Our community was subjected to terrifying acts of violence and looting; not acting would let down all our law-abiding residents.

"Having the long-term security of a council flat or house is a privileged position that, as the waiting lists show, many people aspire to. And with that privilege must come a sense of responsibility to your neighbour and your neighbourhood.

"That responsibility is written into our tenancy agreements - and all tenants sign up to it on behalf of everyone in their household when they get the keys to their new home."

Daniel Sartain-Clarke, 18, of Kennard House, Francis Chichester Way, Battersea, has been charged with burglary with intent to steal at Currys, in St John's Road, and violent disorder.

He has been remanded in custody until a committal hearing at Inner London Crown Court on September 6.

To sign the petition visit

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