NEIL Anthony Pickup has narrowly avoided jail for failing to pay his council tax.

Lawyers from East Hampshire District Council applied for an order to jail Pickup, 50, of Boyneswood, Medstead, near Alresford.

Magistrates in Basingstoke were told that he owed £3,472.71 in tax between June 7 2017 and March 31 2019.

The council said Pickup could afford to pay but had shown culpable neglect by failing to keep to arrangements or responding to correspondence. He is self-employed so no order could be made for an attachment of earnings.

Magistrates ordered he pay £2,880.71 or go to jail for 30 days in default.

Pickup must pay £80 a month starting from February 24. The court let him off £592.