A LANDOWNER yesterday won his legal fight to evict one of a number of weekend hutters who are staging a rent strike on his estate at Carbeth, west Stirlingshire.

Sheriff James Penman ruled unemployed printer Jim Sommerville, 49, from Maryhill, Glasgow, had no right to withhold service charges on his #7000 chalet at Lochside, Carbeth.

Nearly 100 hut owners on the estate are staging a partial payment strike in a dispute with landlord Allan Barnes-Graham. The hutters, who have the support of Labour MPs, are protesting at rises in rents and service charges of up to 42% for the chalets, which have no running water or electricity.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told that hutters at Carbeth own their chalets but rent the ground they stand on.

Many were built by returning servicemen at the end of the First World War but are not covered by any of the landlord/tenant laws that give protection in permanent homes, even though most are physically incapable of being moved to another site.

In a detailed judgment, Sheriff Penman said both landlord and hutter were bound by the terms of missives of let signed when the plot was taken on.

Sheriff Penman said Mr Sommerville had no right to withhold more than #400 in site charges because he disputed the services that were being provided.

Sheriff Penman said the remedy for Mr Sommerville, if he hadn't liked the increases, was to terminate his contract.

The sheriff found for the removal of Mr Sommerville from the site, and ordered him to pay #407 outstanding charges, plus expenses.

The decision means Mr Sommerville, who did not have Legal Aid, will face a bill for the costs for both sides, running into thousands of pounds. He can be evicted from his chalet on or after July 28.

Mr Sommerville's solicitor, Mr Allan Findlay, had argued the contract was unfair. He said his client had taken over the tenancy of his chalet from his girlfriend in 1996 and had no option but to sign the missives of let offered by Mr Barnes-Graham.

He said: ''This is not like a caravan that one can tow away and put on another site. This is an investment that only has value on this site. What greater power could a landlord have?''

Mr Sommerville said afterwards: ''I feel sick. The sheriff's given Mr Barnes-Graham carte-blanche to behave like a feudal lord.''

Mr Barnes-Graham refused to comment.

Members of the Carbeth Hutters' Association said they would continue to fight the evictions, rent increases, and what they claim are moves by Mr Barnes-Graham to turn the estate into an up-market tourist development.

Association organiser Alison Ferguson said: ''The judgment gives Mr Barnes-Graham the right to charge us whatever he like for whatever he chooses.''