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UPDATED: Wirral man jailed for refusing to pay council tax
A WIRRAL man whose supporters tried to “arrest” a judge last year has been sent to prison for not paying his council tax.
On Monday, Roger Hayes - chairman of the British Constitution Group - became only the second person in Wirral to be jailed for not paying the tax.
When the authorities tried to bring him to book last year for the same offence, there was a riot that closed streets around Birkenhead.
More than 600 people turned out to support him in his protest that council tax was unlawful.
They stormed Birkenhead County Court and tried to perform a citizen’s arrest on Judge Michael Peake, who had to be rescued by police in scenes of uproar.
A council spokesman confirmed Mr Hayes has now been handed a 21-day sentence by magistrates for “wilful refusal” to pay his council tax bill.
Officers issued a warrant for his arrest on Saturday after he failed to show up for a hearing last week.
This time, the rioting protestors stayed away.
Council leader Phil Davies said: “Beginning committal proceedings for non-payment of council tax is very much a last resort for any local authority but, in this instance, the magistrate agreed that Mr Hayes had wilfully refused to pay and committed him to prison for 21 days.
“Cases such as this are thankfully very rare but the outcome proves that in circumstances where an individual makes a conscious decision not to pay their council tax and efforts to force them to do so fail, the result is that they will go to prison.
“Council tax is an essential means of revenue enabling the council and other agencies to provide valuable services on behalf of local residents.
“We appreciate that there may be circumstances where people are having difficulties paying their council tax through hardship and we would urge these people to get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can work together on a solution.”