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Monday, October 10, 2011

At home with the 'catgate' couple: Man at centre of storm reveals how he stole porcelain feline from Debenhams


It's a cat's life: Maya at her Elephant and Castle home

The immigration case that split the Cabinet was yesterday revealed to involve two cats, not one.

Bolivian Camilo Soria successfully fought deportation after drafting in Maya, his black-and-white moggie, to support his fight to stay.

However, it was his theft of a second cat – a ceramic one to be exact – that brought him to the attention of the authorities in the first place.

Soria first came to Britain to study English in 2002 on a six-month visa. He then successfully extended the visa for another year.

Close: Camilo Soria, Maya the cat and Frank Tew

Soria’s status came to light when he was arrested and cautioned in February 2007 for shoplifting from Debenhams.

An attempt to deport him was resisted – with Soria relying on the fact he owned property including a pet cat and he was allowed to stay three more years. Now Soria needs to make a new appeal against deportation next year to stay until 2015.

Soria recalled how a judge handling his original application said Maya would not have to ‘adapt to Bolivian mice’.

‘It is funny that the judge joked about that because she never eats any mice here. Never. All the other cats do but she doesn’t. Actually Maya’s favourite food is a Morrison’s seafood platter catfood.

‘And she likes chicken and fish sticks.

Having kittens: Maya (pictured with her first litter) has made certain Cabinet members raise their hackles

‘There is a lot to do looking after all the cats. But if we buy our own house in future I would like to get a dog as well. Only a small one, though.’

The cat formed just one part of their case, Soria said, and added that he feels ‘branded a criminal’.

‘Since I have been in Britain I have always worked. I have paid my tax and National Insurance and I have never claimed benefits,’ he said.

source: dailymail


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