By Burak Gülşen
MORE THAN 130 people who demanded compensation following the 2011 London riots have still not received a single penny, a Labour MP has said.
133 claims for compensation under the Riot Damages Act 1886 were still outstanding, the Metropolitan Police said in response to a Freedom of Information request by shadow Home Office minister Steve Reed.
The same figures revealed 16 per cent of requested cash had been paid to those affected by the looting and rioting two summers ago.
Many of the claimants are Turkish, particularly those with businesses on the Tottenham High Road, which was particularly badly affected.
Nesimi and Çetin Erbil told Londra Gazete that their Erbiller jewellery store in Tottenham was closed down for three months. They said they had been offered compensation but that the authorities had avoided taking responsibility.
“At first, they said the police would be paying the compensation, but the amount was extremely low,” they said.
“Then the insurance company presented every possible hardship that they could. They paid out approximately 70 per cent of what we needed: they said they would not be paying for the jewels and precious items kept on display in the shop counter, but only for the items we had locked away in a safe.
“No-one can ever know when an incident like this can happen and we were caught unaware. We had locked away the more precious items and as the riots happened late at night, those were safe. Our greatest loss was from the items that we don’t stow away at night.”
Nesimi and Çetin Erbil said they were particularly opposed to the proliferation of betting shops that were springing up in the area and were supportive of local MP David Lammy’s efforts to protest them.
Serhan Akbaşak, meanwhile, became a symbol of the effects of looting in Tottenham after his home in Bruce Grove burned to the ground.
The graphic designer said that he and his wife lost everything after the carpet store downstairs was set alight: “Eveyrthing from my professional cameras, lenses, my computer and most importantly all our memories went up in smoke.
“I was the homeowner, I owned the flat on the first floor of the three storey building. It was not easy to find somewhere new and we had to stay in hotels for a while.
“I had a mortgage and compulsory insurance, so our rent was covered for a while but the contents of the house were not. The police asked us for documentation to demonstrate ownership of the items, but they had all burned with the house. We eventually only got half our damages back.”
A new building is being constructed in place of the old one, Mr Akbaşak said, but its completion was delayed to April 2014. It could be three years before they move back into their own home.
Couple.jpg Serhan and Burçin Akbaşak are still waiting to move back home, nearly three years after the London riots