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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Jail release for tax rebel vicar
Alfred Ridley
Alfred Ridley on his release from Woodhill Prison on Tuesday
A retired vicar, jailed last month for refusing to pay a council tax increase, has been released.

Alfred Ridley, 71, from Towcester, Northants, has served all his 28-day sentence in the high security Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes.

Mr Ridley was jailed for ignoring a court order that he repay 691 in arrears to his local authority.

South Northants Council now says he will not be liable for the money.

His jailing came before another council tax campaigner Sylvia Hardy, 73, from Exeter, Devon, was jailed last month.

'No alternative'

As he was picked up from the prison by his wife Una on Tuesday, he said: "It is not too bad inside but it is much better out here."

At a brief press conference he made it clear that his campaign was far from over.

He said the fight would continue around the country for the abolition of the "terrible" council tax.

Ridley had been given a suspended sentence in July but refused to comply with the court order to repay the money.

After the refusal he was told by Towcester Magistrates there was "no alternative" but to jail him.

Mysterious donor

The dispute arose when the council announced it was increasing its annual tax by 8.5% in one go.

Ridley and his wife Una refused to pay a rise, which was above the rate of inflation.

Hardy was freed less than two days into a seven-day jail term after a mysterious donor paid her 53.71 council tax arrears.

She had been jailed after refusing to pay an increase more than the rate of inflation on her tax bill, and said she was disappointed not to have served her full sentence.

Alfred Ridley speaks about his time in jail

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