A COUNTY councillor in Tynedale was summonsed to court for failing to pay his council tax, a national investigation has revealed.

Northumberland county councillor Alan Sharp, who represents the ward of Haydon and Hadrian, received a court summons for an unpaid council tax bill totalling £1,312.83 during the financial year 2015-2016. The debt due was paid in its entirety on receipt of the summons and Coun. Sharp did not appear in court.

The information was revealed through Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Data Investigations Unit at Newsquest, which owns the Courant, and looked into how many councillors across the country had to be reminded to pay their own council tax bills between 2015 and 2018, when they were trusted to spend millions of pounds of public money every year.

The figures showed that five councillors in the North-East had received court summons, including Liberal Democrat Coun. Sharp, who had earlier been sent a reminder to pay a bill for £128.83.

The only other councillor in Northumberland to receive a reminder for payment was Sleekburn representative John Gobin, for a bill of £31.94 during 2017-2018 which was duly settled and no court summons was issued.

The investigation was welcomed by the Local Government Association. A spokesman said: “Local authorities have a responsibility to all taxpayers to ensure that council tax is collected.

“Town halls pursuing councillors for non-payment demonstrates nobody is above the law.

“Many councils also act early when councillors get into arrears by deducting money from their allowances.”

The Courant contacted Coun. Sharp for comment.