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Jail for council tax dodger

Residents are today being urged to pay their Council Tax on time. This comes after a Grimsby man was jailed on Friday (24 May) for 48 days after failing to pay over £3,000.00 in council tax payments.

A 54 year old Grimsby man has been jailed for 48 days for failing to pay more than £3,000 in Council Tax.

Mr John Westfield¸ of Ripon Street, Grimsby was sentenced at Grimsby Magistrates Court on Friday, 24 May, for accruing £3082.13, of debt between March 2009 and March 2012.

Westfield was originally summonsed to appear in court in July 2012. He failed to attend the hearing and a warrant of arrest was issued. Westfield attended court on 24 August 2012 and appeared for four Liability Orders totalling £3087.13. Culpable Neglect was found and he was ordered to make payment of £40.00 per fortnight starting on the 10 September 2012. The Magistrates order was backed by a 50 day suspended sentence.

Westfield subsequently made two payments of £40.00 each in September. These were the only payments received. Due to the non-payment of the order, reminders were sent but no further contact or payment was received. Westfield was requested to return to court for a non-compliance hearing on the 6 March 2013. Again Westfield failed to attend the hearing and a warrant of arrest was issued.

Westfield surrendered to the Warrant on the 24 May 2013. At the hearing it was noted that Mr Westfield had made only two payments to the order and that the Council had received no contact during the 9 months the Magistrates Order had been in force.

The Magistrates stated that Westfield had made no attempt to make payment to the order and made no effort to speak to the Council regarding the order, and because of this they had no option but to activate the suspended sentence.

Westfield was duly sentenced to 48 Days custody. Although Westfield is now in custody, he would be released immediately upon full payment of the debt.

Cllr Chris Shaw, leader of the council, said, “We have had several cases in the past 12 months where someone has been jailed for not paying their council tax.

“The defendant was given every opportunity to pay their way but failed to keep to the reasonable arrangements we made with him through the court.”

“We do what we can to help anybody who can’t pay and take action against those who won’t.”

“It’s not fair that other law-abiding council tax payers are footing the bill while others shirk their responsibilities and we’ll take a firm stance against anyone who continually refuses to pay.”