'I'll do it again if I have to'
PUBLISHED: 11:16 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:18 26 October 2009
IN the clink on your 40th birthday with a stomach bug. It wouldn t be on the to-do list for most people, but for WGC resident Steve Peers it was a necessary part of his campaign against above inflation rises in council tax. Having served his seven days fo
IN the clink on your 40th birthday with a stomach bug.
It wouldn't be on the to-do list for most people, but for WGC resident Steve Peers it was a necessary part of his campaign against above inflation rises in council tax.
Having served his seven days for withholding £44.62, the WHT caught up with him to find out about the experience at Bedford prison and if, with hindsight, it was all worth it.
"It was a very real experience," he said.
"But I have to say that the only thing I had to fear was fear itself - the apprehension was much worse than the actual reality.
"The officers were very professional, and the inmates were surprisingly upbeat and positive.
"They were amazed about the reason I was there."
The father-of-three's campaign started in 2005 when he began withholding money above the rate of inflation on his monthly bills at what he called "unjust" rises.
In 2006 an anonymous donor paid off his first deficit, but earlier this month he was jailed for not paying the latest sum at Central Herts Magistrates' Court.
He said council tax has risen by 130 per cent since he moved to his WGC house in 1996.
But time in prison was tougher for him because he spent part of it with a stomach bug, isolated in his own cell and on medication.
But Steve, who lives on Woodhall Lane, said he was well-looked after.
He added: "It wasn't some Dickensian hovel - I had a TV, a toilet, warm running water, a bed and decent meals.
"But it was no hotel either and I was so relieved to leave on the last day."
He said: "It gives you a lot of time to think, but I went in prepared and knew I was doing it for a reason.
"I wish I hadn't been there, but I am doing this for my family and my children particularly, who will be landed with huge council tax bills if the rises continue.
"I would do it again if I had to."
He has already received a demand notice for £65.65 for this year's council tax bill.
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