Unpaid council tax goes back 11 years

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

A care worker is facing a 90-day jail sentence if she does not get her longstanding Doncaster council tax arrears sorted out.

Maxine Ann Wraith has owed more than £4,500 to the local authority for more than a decade – but her solicitor told magistrates she thought she was paying it off from her monthly pay cheque.

Wraith, aged 43, was arrested on a court warrant at home last week and brought before Doncaster magistrates to explain her non-payment of council tax while she lived in Conisbrough between 2002 and 2008.

Neil Langley, prosecuting for Doncaster Council, said she had been going through the court system since 2006 and still owes £4,644.

At her last appearance in 2008 she claimed to be a single parent living in Warrenne Road, Conisbrough, and offered to pay the then debt at £15 a week from her wages and child benefit.

But her landlord told the council in July 2008 that she was resident at the property with her husband.

Wraith, who has since moved to Netherfield Lane, Rotherham, has paid back only £60 since her last court appearance.

Mr Langley said culpable neglect had been shown, so she should serve the 90 days’ suspended sentence.

But defence solicitor John Evans produced a selection of wage slips which showed an attachment of earnings order for the council tax.

“She has paid £2,200 since July 2008 and believes that was for the arrears. There is a difference between what we are hearing and what she is saying,” said Mr Evans, who said his client had also paid around £800 to bailiffs who had visited her home.

Mr Langley suggested money taken from her £860-a-month wage slip would be for her Rotherham council tax because no payments had been received by Doncaster.

The magistrates agreed not to activate the suspended prison term if she starts paying £20 a week.