COUNCIL chiefs have been branded “heartless” for evicting a man from the Southampton home he has lived in for more than 30 years.

David Wort, known as Charlie, was kicked out of his home in the Kingsland Estate yesterday after a last-ditch bid to halt the eviction failed.

He had grown up in the flat and moved back there 12 years ago to live with his mother, but the council said he had no automatic right to remain there.

The 51-year-old had lived there until he got married at the age of 22, but then moved back in 2002 after the break-up of his relationship and the death of his father.

His mother Pauline died in November, and the council said he must move out and that they would not provide an alternative flat.

Mr Wort, who works at the Tesco distribution centre in Nursling, says the situation has left him depressed.

He said: “The council has said that because it's a secure tenancy I haven’t got a leg to stand on, but they are not prepared to offer me anything other than a “homeseeker” session which is basically sending someone round to offer me rented accommodation.

“I didn’t want to leave this place, I have lived here since I was a kid.”

After Mr Wort’s last attempt to halt the eviction failed, he added: “It was just one last kick in the teeth. I will look for somewhere privately, but like many people it’s a struggle to make ends meet at the moment.”

Cllr Don Thomas, who has been supporting Mr Wort, said he believed council cuts had had an impact on the authority’s housing staff and their ability to be “compassionate”.

He added: “Mr Wort’s whole life has been turned sadly upside down through no fault of his own.

“We have empty studio flats in Southampton, surely we could make arrangements to accommodate Mr Wort rather than kick him out?

“No one wants a soulless council without a heart.”

Members of the Socialist Party had protested outside Mr Wort’s house before his eviction.

Member John Easton said: “It’s scandalous, this is a council that should be looking after its residents but instead they are kicking people out of their houses.”

A city council spokesman said: “There is no automatic right to anyone remaining in the property following the death of the tenant to retain the tenancy.

“There are more than 15,000 people on the waiting list for council accommodation in Southampton – we apply the law fairly and equitably and would not allow anyone to occupy a council property if they are not entitled to do so.”