I posted about Ms Rooney a couple of weeks ago.
"In 10 years, the street's decline has been so rapid that out of 50 houses, only eight are now owner-occupied, the rest have been bought up by absent landlords and converted into cramped bedsits and flats."
Now she's been banged up.
"Josephine Rooney, 69, of Hartington Street, Derby, will spend the next 12 weeks at New Hall jail in Wakefield, West Yorks, but vowed to carry on her fight after she is released.
A fortnight ago she was awarded £1,000 by the Government's Taking a Stand programme for her work in the community where she provides food and drink for the needy.
After a five-minute hearing before magistrates, the district judge, Joanne Alderson, said she was "sadly" left with no option but to impose a suspended sentence handed down last month after Rooney reiterated her refusal to pay. Rooney, looking frail and nervous, was handcuffed and led away."
I love this bit. Think of the number of murders and other crimes committed by people released early from their sentences.
"She will have to serve the full three months because there is no remission on non-payment of fines."
Protcting the public ? Nul point. Protecting the revenue ? Dix point.
(What's happened to Hartington Street is an unintended consequence of Tory legislation which pays housing benefit direct to the landlord. Designed to increase the amount of rented accommodation, it created a class of landlords for whom the main attraction was the guaranteed income stream. The last thing they wanted was a tenant with a job - they'd have to collect the rent themselves. As unemployable drug-users and lowlife move in, so other houses in the street become harder to sell and prices fall - at which point in steps a private landlord to buy the property and move in more benefit recipients. A nice feedback loop, which I observed at close range, selling my late fathers house on a rough estate in County Durham. Private landlords were the only people we had offers from. Bea Campbell wrote a long piece about this phenomenon, focusing on Newcastle and Sunderland, in the Observer some ten years back, but I can't find it - it may not be on the web.)
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