AN anti-war campaigner who refused to pay council tax arguing it funded wars has been handed a suspended jail term.

Christopher Coverdale, 68, of The Mint, Rye, claimed paying the tax breached national and international law as it was 'used to fund wars'.

But Hastings magistrates deemed his fight “frivolous” and ordered him to pay more than £1,000 in back tax and costs.

They also handed him a 28-day prison term, on Wednesday July 30, suspended until he pays back the money.

Cllr Robin Patten, Rother District Council cabinet member for finance and value for money, said: “Council Tax revenue is used solely to provide services in the local area and whatever the defendant's views on war, these have nothing to do with payment of this tax.

“By refusing to pay, the defendant was benefitting from services which are partly or wholly funded by council tax, without making the contribution towards them that everyone else has to.”

Mr Coverdale first appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court in October last year, when he admitted liability for the outstanding money.

The district council was granted a court order requiring the defendant to pay the outstanding amount.

Mr Coverdale pleaded with magistrates to refer the matter to the High Court for a ruling on the legality of paying council tax, but his pleas were rejected as 'frivolous'.

His further pleas to the High Court and the Court of Appeal were also refused.

He was ordered to pay £1,056.18 in council tax arrears and costs, in instalments of £50 a month.

Cllr Pattern added: “Court action is always a last resort.”