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Gloucestershire Business News

Resident jailed over unpaid council tax bill

A resident who repeatedly failed to pay his council tax bill has been jailed by magistrates following a prosecution by Stroud District Council.

Magistrates activated a prison sentence on Christopher McLaughlin because he had been warned at an earlier hearing that if he missed one back payment, he would be sent to prison.

He was jailed for 36 days at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on Monday, November 5.

Mr McLaughlin, of Hawthorn Rise, Stroud was given a suspended prison sentence by magistrates in May last year for neglecting to pay 4 years of council tax, amounting to just over £3000

At that hearing he was ordered to pay £150 per month but was warned that any default in payment would result in his sentence being activated.

He was ordered to appear before court three more times due to failure to pay, so an arrest warrant was issued in September and he was arrested and brought before the court on Monday, November 5.

"We do all we can to help people who are in difficult financial circumstances, but there's a big difference between those who can't pay and those who won't pay," said Mark Richings, SDC Senior Recovery officer.

"When all other avenues are exhausted we will take action to recover the money owed. Court action is always a last resort but non-payers need to be aware that we will not tolerate evasion. On behalf of the district's council tax payers, who pay their bills, we have a duty to take all steps necessary to recover arrears."

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