A father-of-two was shocked to get a visit from the bailiffs claiming he owed council tax for a property he had not lived in for six years.

Pete Cannon sold his six-bedroom house in Market Place, Brentford, in June 2007, and moved to Westerham, in Kent, with his family.

The 58-year-old TV producer was surprised to receive a letter from Hounslow Council nearly six years later telling him he owed council tax for the month of April 2013 for his former property - 46 miles from where he now lives, according to AA Route Planner.

Westerham, Kent (pic via Google Street View)
Westerham, Kent (pic via Google Street View)
 

He contacted the council to explain the error and thought the issue had been resolved, only for a bailiff to turn up on his doorstep on January 30 demanding more than £1,000 to cover the 'unpaid' tax, the council's legal bill and the cost of bringing in the bailiffs.

"I was quite surprised to see a large lad from the bailiffs on my doorstep demanding goods to cover the cost," he said.

"He seemed to go away quite happily when I gave him an estate agent's letter confirming I didn't live there.

"When I called the Land Registry for proof of ownership, the lady I spoke to said she'd had a number of calls from people being hounded by outer London councils for council tax on properties they didn't own or live in, so it seems this wasn't an isolated case.

"It's a stupid cock-up which must have cost the council a lot of money, especially given they've sent the bailiffs all the way out here."

A council spokesman said: "Due to a mistake on our part Mr Cannon was wrongly asked to pay council tax on a property he did not occupy and we sincerely apologise for our error.

"We work hard to make sure council tax arrears are paid in full, but unfortunately in this case mistakes were made, and we will do all we can to avoid this happening again."

Hounslow Council collected a record 97.8 per cent of council tax in 2012/13, during which it also clawed back £4.5 million in arrears.