Page last updated at 21:25 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Council tax row over travellers

A roofer is refusing to pay a 10,000 council tax bill because he claims his life has been made "a misery" by a travellers' camp near his home.

Bruce Charter, 62, of Earith, Cambs, said he and his partner Rita Redfarn, 64, have logged nearly 250 "incidents" since the camp was established in 1997.

He said he had withheld council tax for nine years in protest at the camp.

East Cambs District Council said court action was being considered and many of the couple's claims made were unproven.

Ms Redfarn said the couple had stopped making complaints to police because officers "never made arrests".

'Little evidence'

Police said they had recorded two reports of crimes from Mr Charter since 2003.

But a spokeswoman said officers had been in discussion with the couple.

Mr Charter said: "It's like a war zone," said Mr Charter. "We don't enjoy our lives - they've been made a misery at best and a living hell at worst.

"Our home is our prison, so if they want to send me to jail, so be it. I will never pay."

Alex Colyer, executive director of finance at the council, said: "Mr Charter may feel he has been singled out but this council and other agencies have worked incredibly hard to deal with his many allegations only to find little evidence to sustain his claims.

"Given that Mr Charter refuses to discuss this situation with us we have been forced to place this matter before the courts to claim his arrears.

"Withholding council tax is never an effective way of resolving a dispute, especially when the complainant fails to engage with those who are doing all they can to help."

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