CHATTERIS: Jail threat for Council Tax dodger who blew £10,000 on a new van

A CHATTERIS man who spent an inheritance on a new truck when he owed thousands of pounds in council tax is now facing jail. Gary Garner – who was left nearly £10,000 by his late father -- will find himself in prison for 28 days if he fails to pay off his

A CHATTERIS man who spent an inheritance on a new truck when he owed thousands of pounds in council tax is now facing jail.

Gary Garner - who was left nearly £10,000 by his late father -- will find himself in prison for 28 days if he fails to pay off his debt at £80 a month, magistrates warned this week.

The sixty-one-year-old builder was arrested on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning appeared before Fenland magistrates in custody.

He owed a total of £2,220.15, said Nigel Adams from Fenland District Council, but the council had issued proceedings only in relation to £812.50 outstanding from last year's tax bill.

Mr Adams said Garner had paid less than £300 in council tax since 2004, representing six per cent of his liability. Back in February last year, the court had remitted Garner's entire council tax debt of £2,779.86, after hearing that he had insufficient income to pay.

Last June, magistrates ordered Garner to pay £801.37 in council tax. Within days he paid £241.37, but had paid nothing since.

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Garner told the court he paid £400 to bailiffs on Monday before his arrest, and was expecting to pay a similar sum next week.

Explaining why he had not paid before, Garner told the court: "I just didn't go and sort it out, I should have done more."

He bought a Mitsubishi truck about six weeks ago. He said: "I needed a motor to get to work, the other one was past its best."

Imposing the 28-day suspended jail sentence, presiding magistrate Linda Clarke said: "We find you guilty of culpable neglect and wilful refusal to pay this debt. You have been in work and had the means to pay.