A mistake in the borough’s tax collection department has led to hundreds of households being wrongly threatened with court action.

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But the move has prompted a cash windfall for the public purse as householders rushed to pay their outstanding council tax bill.

The borough council sent out 500 letters to households that were late in paying their council tax earlier this week.

However while they meant to send out red reminder letters, merely pointing out that the cash was now due, they actually sent court summonses.

The mistake was noticed almost immediately, and fresh letters were sent out – some arrived in the same post as the wrong summonses.

But a spokesman for the borough said that the effect of the original letter was to persuade many householders to pay up immediately.

He said: “This was a genuine error and we apologise for any distress or concern that it may have caused.

“However the fact is, it certainly seems to have persuaded some householders to get on and settle up their bills.

“We have received more than we would have expected from a normal reminder letter!”

The mix-up affected 2012/13 council tax bills – and happened just days before the borough set its 2013/14 bills.

Did you receive a summons? Did it prompt you to settle your council tax? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an email to starletters@archant.co.uk

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