Council tax defaulter gets prison sentence

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A man with long-standing council tax arrears has been sent to jail for 26 days as a result of non-payment.

Stuart Dunn, 44, of Brockwell Court, Blyth, was already subject to a suspended prison sentence for failing to pay the tax when he appeared before Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that he owed council tax of £1,715 for various periods between 2007 and 2010 and had also failed to adhere to previous court orders.

After the hearing, Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The council has a duty to its paying residents to take action against those who will not pay.

“It has no alternative but to continue to bring council tax defaulters to court in order to ensure payment is received for essential local services.

“Whilst sending someone to prison is a rare occurrence and will usually only happen in the worst cases, it can and will happen.”

If a resident finds themselves in genuine difficulty with the payment of their council tax, they are urged to contact the authority’s recovery team on 01670 624886 to discuss payment.

Similarly, if a council tax payer is in receipt of a low income, there are reductions available through the council tax reduction scheme and they should contact the benefits team on 0345 6006400.