PENSIONER Vic Cheyney has blasted Rushmoor Council for taking him to court over his council tax payments.

He is due to appear at Aldershot magistrates' court on July 11 for allegedly failing to pay his council tax on time.

But 74-year-old Vic, who faces a demand for a lump sum payment of £872 to clear his current tax bill, said last Friday: "I don't know what the council is playing at. I always pay my council tax as regularly as clockwork at the post office each month. Taking me to court is a waste of time and public money."

He makes the payments towards the middle of the month to coincide with his state and civil service pensions arriving in his bank account.

Nothing was said until last year when the council warned that he risked landing in hot water for consistently missing the 1st of the month payment deadline.

"When I explained to the council officer I couldn't afford to pay until the middle of the month, he agreed to let me off," said Vic at his home in Clouston Road, Farnborough.

"I thought they would take the same view this year, but for some reason they haven't."

The retired driving instructor intends to explain his predicament to the magistrates in the hope that they will take a sympathetic view.

"I don't see why I should be trampled on by the council," he added. "It's a ridiculous situation, especially as I don't owe them a penny."

Roger Gear, the council's local taxation manager, said they had got tough with late payers because of pressure from the Government to make sure people paid on time.

"At one time we gave people quite a bit of leeway," he said. "But a couple of years ago we were told we needed to tighten up."

He said that people like Mr Cheyney, who pay monthly at a post office or bank, should allow at least 10 days for the money to reach the council.

Mr Gear advised those with similar problems to save up during the council tax "holidays" of February and March, so that they are in a position to start meeting the deadline.