THERE is obviously a department within Brighton and Hove City Council which keeps a check on which of its residents have and have not paid their council tax.

I assume that, whenever it detects that someone is in arrears, it takes steps to ensure that any money owed gets paid and, if necessary, will resort to taking the debtor to court to retrieve what is owed to it.

That being the case, and I am sure it is, why was nobody keeping a check on whether a private company, paid by the council to empty its parking meters, was actually banking the cash that it took out of them?

After all, we are not talking about a resident owing a £1,000 in council tax arrears; the sum in question is a mind-blowing £3.2 million.

Does anybody within the council know how long it took for this amount of taxpayers’ money to build up to this enormous total before asking questions and, even more important, who was responsible for allowing it to ever happen?

I actually doubt it could answer either of these questions because it does not even know if the money was lost through fraud or theft.

This was money that could have been used, for example, to rid the city of all the street art/graffiti/ tagging that so besmirches it, or employ more people to clear the mounds of rubbish that often surround the communal collection bins.

However, now that it has disappeared – never, it seems, to return – the city centre will continue to look like part of a third world country and the department responsible for the missing money will continue to operate as though nothing ever happened.

Eric Waters, Lancing