A north-east man who staged a council-tax protest against travellers camped illegally near his home has been told his bank account could be frozen and his property seized.
Billy Thomson told Aberdeenshire Council he would not pay his council tax while travellers were camped in a layby at Garlogie.
Now, the authority has called in sheriff officers, who have threatened to freeze the self-employed courier’s bank account and seize property from his home in an attempt to force him to pay the £700 bill.
The 59-year-old first took a stand against the authority when caravans were parked in the layby on the B9119 Aberdeen to Echt road for nearly a year in 2005.
When the travellers left he began paying his council tax again, but stopped in 2008 when travellers camped there for about four months.
The layby has since been shut to prevent travellers from returning.
Mr Thomson, of Garlogie Cottages, said he respected travellers’ rights, but criticised the council for “persecuting me, but not them”.
He said: “While the travellers were parked there no one could use the layby, and it had been a well-used service.
“I decided that from then on, when these people are parked there without paying council tax, neither would I.
“I know a lot of travellers – they are decent people and I respect their choice of lifestyle, but Aberdeenshire Council has shown double standards.”
Mr Thomson said he first received notice that Aberdeenshire Council was seeking the unpaid tax when he received a letter from the authority earlier this year.
He said he took the letter to the council’s Inverurie office seeking an explanation as to why the authority was seeking payment from him but not the travellers, but “never got a straight answer”.
“I cannot see any difference between me not paying my council tax and the travellers not paying it,” he said.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We take the recovery of council tax very seriously and we continue to make efforts to collect tax which has not been paid.”