Like a bad penny...angry resident pays £1,851 council tax in copper coins

Russell Skellett delivers �1,850 in pennies to Broxtowe Borough Council offices to pay council tax on two properties that he owns.
Russell Skellett delivers �1,850 in pennies to Broxtowe Borough Council offices to pay council tax on two properties that he owns.

Penny for your thoughts...

A furious property owner who was controversially ordered to stump up £1,851.94 in outstanding council tax has done so begrudgingly, by paying it all in one-pence coins.

Russell Skellett clashed with Broxtowe Borough Council over the tax on two crumbling properties he had bought in Eastwood, next to his own home on Three Tuns Road.

With both being derelict, under the law he does not have to pay council tax on either.

However, Broxtowe Borough Council inspected the buildings, claiming they were habitable and that he was libel for the levy.

After being taken to court Mr Skellett reluctantly agreed to pay, although still argues the homes are not fit to be lived in and came up with an idea of how to pay as inconveniently as possible.

The 40-year-old said: “I went to my bank manager and he asked me if I was joking.

“It had to be delivered to my house and I took it down to the council office in a lorry - it was too heavy to put in the car, it’s three-quarters of a tonne.

“It was in two shopping trollies and it took them two hours for the council to weight it all. It even bent the trollies it weighed that much.

“They had to accept it because someone on the phone told me they would the day before.

Mr Skellett, who runs plastics and construction firms, bought the two terraced properties in March last year.

Joined on to his own home, he paid £135,00 for the pair - one three-bedroom house, one two-bedroom - to demolish them to build new homes.

They have not been lived in for two years, there is no electricity or gas supply to either and no running water.

Reports show that the damp has left the walls compromised and sections of the roof are missing.

“Somebody came from the council and said someone could live in it now, it’s so ridiculous,” said Mr Skellett.

Mr Skellett claims he also was never told about his court appearance by the council, so was unable to defend himself or given a chance to prove that the houses were uninhabitable.

He requested several meetings with the council about with the situation, but was never allowed.

He has now obtained a demolition order and expects the buildings to be pulled down in the coming weeks.

However, he warned the council: “For as long as I have to pay council tax on these properties, I will keep coming down and paying in pennies.”

Broxtowe Borough Council has refused to comment on the situation.