Riot-hit shopkeeper gets compensation - one year after putting in claim

Shopkeeper Siva Kandiah, whose store was gutted by looters during the Hackney riots, has finally been awarded compensation – nearly a year after putting in his claim.

Horrified Siva watched helplessly at home as a live news broadcast showed dozens of youths smashing open the security grill of Clarence Convenience Store and breaking the windows to get inside.

His shop was completely emptied as hundreds of people climbed in to carry away all his goods – and even some of the fittings and fixtures from the shop in lower Clapton Road on the night of August 8 last year.

Kindhearted residents and customers set up a fund almost immediately to raise money to help the shopkeeper replace his stock, and the campaign, which was coordinated by Cllr Ian Rathbone, raised �30,000 in just three weeks.

The store, now renamed Siva’s Shop, reopened less than a month after the riots.

Siva, who finally received official compensation from the Metropolitan Police Fund recently, said: “I am just so glad this is now all over, although it has been very difficult with getting the business going fully again. I had to take out a bank loan to tide things over.

“I am so grateful to all those people who helped raise the �30,000 last year which helped me get back into business so quickly. I’m lucky - some shops looted last year have sadly not re-opened.”

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Cllr Rathbone, secretary of the Clarence Road Traders and Residents Association (CLARTRA), said: “We are very glad that at long last, nearly a year later, Siva has finally obtained some compensation - although it does not represent the loss of his whole stock, so it’s just as well local people and others generously gave to the Save Siva Fund last year.”

The lengthy wait was “in direct contradiction” of Prime Minister David Cameron’s promises after the riots that compensation should be paid out quickly, he added.