Prison for Northumberland council-tax defaulter

News from the courts.
News from the courts.

A Northumberland resident who consistently failed to pay her council tax has been sent to prison for non-payment.

Gillian Sawyer, 48, of Plessey Road, Blyth, was already subject to a suspended prison sentence for failing to pay council tax when she appeared at Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates Court.

The court heard that she still owed council tax of £2,735 for various periods up to 2010 and that she had failed to adhere to at least seven court orders for payment. Sawyer was sent to prison immediately for 12 days.

Colin Logan, head of financial and customer services with Northumberland County Council, said: “The council has a duty to its paying residents to take action against those who will not pay. The council has no alternative but to continue to bring council-tax defaulters to court in order to ensure payment is received for essential local services. While sending someone to prison is a rare occurrence and will usually only happen in the worst cases, it can and will happen.”

If a person finds themselves in genuine difficulty with the payment of their council tax, they are urged to contact the council’s recovery team on 01670 624886 to discuss payment. Similarly, if a council taxpayer is in receipt of low income then there are reductions available through the council-tax reduction scheme and they should contact the benefits team on 0845 600 6400.