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HUNDREDS of shops attacked in last summer's riots have been refused compensation... because not enough people were involved in the mayhem.

The three-day rampage across the UK cost stores and other businesses an estimated pounds 1billion in damage and lost sales.

Afterwards PM David Cameron gave a personal pledge in the House of Commons to help riot-hit shops get back on their feet.

But shopkeepers in some hardhit areas have now been told local unrest didn't qualify as a fullblown riot so they can't claim. Police chiefs have refused to pay out under the Riot (Damages) Act, saying some incidents did not meet the strict legal definition of a riot, which must be "12 or more people together using or threatening violence for a common purpose."

In Leicester, newsagent Jay Popat, 50, closed early on the advice of police as around 100 troublemakers ran amok. Thugs smashed his windows, causing pounds 1,000 of damage, and he lost a whole day of trading.

He said: "Our insurance didn't cover it. We put in a claim to the Government riot fund but it was rejected. I don't know how many people were involved but I would have classed it as riot. The Government and police have made it very hard for people to claim."

Praful Chauhan, whose shoe shop in Leicester was also hit, said: "Our insurer passed the buck to the Government and they passed the buck to the police, who said it wasn't a riot. Anyone who saw it would say it was a riot."

But Leicestershire police authority insisted: "The criteria have not been met."

Ex-Labour minister Frank Dobson has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to step in after shops in his Central London consitituency were also turned down. He said: "This looked like a riot, smelled like a riot and sounded like a riot. No mean-minded police lawyers will convince me it wasn't. The Government gave a clear impression people would be able to claim.. and now they are trying to weasel out of it."

More than 5,700 businesses have claimed. The Home Office says it is up to individual police authorities to deal with them.


Anarchy... looters running wild Mayhem... store in flames last summer
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2012
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