Last chance for council tax debtor
Magistrates had February
on 1 imposed a suspended 60-day jail sentence to give him further chance to pay up.
Nicola Stevens, senior recovery officer for Ash- ford Borough Council, said: “There had been a history of non-payment, that is why the court took a harsh line.”
But Mills was brought back to court now after failing to keep up with a number of scheduled repayments A MAN has been given a last chance to clear his council tax debt or go to jail.
Stephen Mills had already had to sleep in a car after his house was repossessed and was now threatened with jail for failing to keep up payments to wipe out his arrears.
A court has now ordered him to pay back monthly and chairman of the bench Amanda Robbins told him: “If not, you come back here and you can guarantee going to prison.
“You need to put money aside because you are getting yourself in a real mess.”
Ashford magistrates last Friday heard that Mills had arrears of £4,304.14 by last November and although this was now down to £825 he had failed to keep up with all arranged repayments. since then.
Mills, 50, of Lancaster Way, Ashford, told the court: “I don’t physically have the money.
“The attitude is pay or go to jail, but lose my house, that’s OK.
“I want to pay. If I go to prison I will lose my house and my job.”
The court heard that Mills’ house had been repossessed and he had lived in a car for four months.
He told the court he couldn’t get a council house because he was classed as having made himself homeless.
He is now renting but he said his rent takes up half the monthly £1,600 he now earns designing conservatories.
He said he was left with just £300 after paying for petrol, gas and electricity and car insurance.
He had got a second job to clear debts but later lost that.
Mrs Robbins told him: “The trouble is you have been willing or trying to pay but the sums are too big. You have not sat down and budgeted.”
Magistrates re-activated the suspended sentence and ordered Mills to pay a minimum £100 a month to clear the debt.