Former business partner freed from jail after relative coughs up £3,415 council tax debt

PUBLISHED: 11:35 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:16 02 June 2010

court
Simon Lee

court Simon Lee

A FORMER partner in a now-closed family business was jailed for failing to pay his council tax debts – but he walked free the next day when a relative coughed up the £3,415 he owed. Simon Lee, a former partner in J and S Lee Potatoes which was once fined

A FORMER partner in a now-closed family business was jailed for failing to pay his council tax debts - but he walked free the next day when a relative coughed up the £3,415 he owed.

Simon Lee, a former partner in J and S Lee Potatoes which was once fined £20,000 for ignoring a council order, was sent to prison for 80 days by magistrates on Tuesday.

But Lee, 49, of Clarkson Avenue, Wisbech, was released from Peterborough Prison on Wednesday.

In January, magistrates found Lee guilty of culpable negligence and gave him a 90-day suspended prison sentence on the grounds he paid £30 a fortnight and a lump sum of £1,500 before February 22.

At that hearing magistrates wrote off £4,455.21 of the debt and Lee said: "I know this has been going on for a long time and needs to be cleared up."

Lee made the £30 payments from his Job Seeker's Allowance, but failed to find the lump sum payment. He had been unable to secure a Social Fund Loan, which he was going to use to pay it.

Lee was summonsed to court on April 24, but failed to attend. A warrant was issued for his arrest. The last payment received was September 5.

A council spokesman said: "Despite Mr Lee knowing a warrant for his arrest was outstanding for five months, he had not agreed to surrender to the court to resolve the matter."

Lee's solicitor said that Lee did not have the £1,500, but intended making payment when he got back to work. Lee also offered to pay £40 per fortnight.

Sending Lee to prison, the chairman of the bench said he "failed to keep his promise and pay the £1,500 as directed".

J and S Lee Potatoes, of The Walnuts, Roman Bank, Leverington, went into receivership in April 2007.

But it was fined £20,000 four months later for ignoring a council order to remove caravans used to house migrant workers in Mile Tree Lane, Wisbech.

It was the largest fine imposed for contravening an enforcement notice in Fenland.


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