A COUNCILLOR was issued with a court summons after failing to pay his council tax on time for a third time.

Tendring Council revealed through a Freedom of Information request, Alton Park councillor Peter Cawthron, who is eligible for £5,173 in councillors’ allowance, failed to pay despite reminders.

It led to him being issued with a court summons for having not paid a sum of £252.83.

However, Mr Cawthron said he had, in fact, overpaid his council tax bill for 2018/19.

He said: “After maladministration on my part, I received a refund from the council of £456.89 on January 4 leaving my 2018/19 council tax account paid in full.”

Mr Cawthron received a previous court summons in 2016 but said his father died in 2015 and he had been “involved in an acrimonious and distressing probate dispute in the High Court”.

He said: “The administration of my personal finances has sometimes been neglected during that time.”

Tendring Council said Mr Cawthron was previously taken to court for failing to pay his 2016/17 council tax and a liability order was made.

Mr Cawthron also received a court summons, along with Conservative St Paul’s councillor Andy Massey, in 2017/8.

The latest Freedom of Information request also revealed council tax reminders were sent to Tanya Ferguson (Con, Ramsey and Parkeston) and Mr Massey in 2018/19.

Mrs Ferguson’s outstanding balance was paid by the end of the month after the reminder was issued.

The council said: “It is worth highlighting reminders are sent out in the second class post and reminders and actual payments can cross in the post.

“Therefore, it is possible for payments to be made before actually receiving the reminder where the payment date is close to the reminder issue date.”

A spokesman for the authority added: “As with any resident, Tendring Council will pursue non-payment of council tax, including taking the matter to court if necessary.

“Where a councillor is in arrears of two months or more with council tax, from any part of the country, legally they must declare this before a discussion on the authority’s budget and would therefore commit a criminal offence by voting on it.”