Persistent Council Tax evader sentenced to 10 months in prison


An Ely man who illegally claimed over £5000 in Council Tax support has been sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Bradley Gilbert, 37, formerly of New Barns Road, Ely was on licence from prison when he defrauded East Cambridgeshire District Council by falsely claiming he was a student.

Gilbert pleaded guilty to three fraud offences including dishonestly making a false representation to gain an exemption by claiming he was a student, providing false details and supplying false ID and a student certificate. These are contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.

The offences were committed between 26 November 2018 and 3 March 2020.

In summing up, Judge Lowe said that the offences committed showed repeated dishonest activity, over a prolonged period of time, in relation to 3 separate properties.

False documents and applications were submitted by Mr Gilbert, as well as extensive communications with the council, with Mr Gilbert purporting to be other people.

He said these offences were highly aggravated by Gilbert’s previous convictions for fraud and the fact that he was on licence from prison at the time these offences were committed, having only been released from prison 2 months prior to these offences being committed.

Judge Lowe said that these offences involved significant planning and a degree of sophistication, and due to the seriousness of the offences, Mr Gilbert was sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence of 5 months for Count 1 and 10 months for count 4 and 7, to run concurrently.

All money has since been repaid back to the council.

A spokesperson for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We are always here to help people who genuinely need support and I would encourage anyone who is having difficulties paying their Council Tax bill to contact us in the first instance so we can assess what support we are able to provide.

“However, when we find people who are abusing the system, our message is clear - we will always follow this through to a prosecution. As well as deceiving the council, illegally claiming support for Council Tax or any other type of benefit can ultimately lead to higher taxes and reduced services, which impacts all residents.”