A MAN has been jailed for three months after refusing to pay more than £11,000 in council tax.

Ashley Wood "wilfully refused" to pay £11,262.76 to Hart District Council between 2012 and 2019, court documents reveal.

The 58-year-old was sent to prison for 90 days after "all other methods of enforcement have been tried and considered".

The council has now warned that they will take action when they feel someone is deliberately avoiding council tax.

Appearing before Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on November 29, Wood, of Middle Garden Road in Camberley, was sent to prison for 90 days after eight complaints for council tax committal from Hart District Council were heard.

Documents show how the court deemed that "no other method of enforcement is appropriate".

The register continues: "Court is satisfied that the defendant has wilfully refused to pay given the history of non-compliance and non-payment over a substantial number of years.

"All other methods of enforcement have been [tried] and considered, namely bailiff action, deductions from earning."

The court also heard how in 2019 Wood sold a property, and accepts he received in excess of £12,000 "which he did not use to pay towards his outstanding council tax".

Meanwhile, a distress warrant - which would enforce an order made by magistrates - had been "tried and unsuccessful", whilst an application to the High Court or County Court was considered inappropriate as the defendant has no assets.

It was also heard that Hart council had tried to arrange a payment plan to recover the costs from Wood.

Hence, magistrates Dr B Spender, Gregory Smith and Major Tikendra Dewar felt that "no other method of enforcement" was appropriate.

Reacting to the sentencing, Cllr James Radley, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance at Hart District Council, said: “Going to court is very much a last resort for Hart District Council, we would much rather work with any resident who is genuinely struggling to balance their domestic budget.

"We will however take action in the rare circumstance that we feel someone is deliberately avoiding to pay their council tax, as in not doing so, they are impacting on the vast majority that do.”

Council tax bills are collected by district councils, including Hart, but money is sent to other authorities including Hampshire County Council, the police force and fire service.

It pays for a range of services including bin collections, road improvements and funding for emergency services.