COUNCILLORS from Dorset are among the hundreds nationwide who have been issued reminders to pay their council tax bills, an investigation has discovered.

An investigation carried out by Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit found that, of 225 UK councils that offered full or partial disclosure of the figures under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, 646 councillors were sent reminder letters to pay their council tax between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

Councillors were issued more than 2,418 reminder letters and 324 court summons or summary warrants during this time frame.

Several councillors from Dorset were among those on the receiving end of these reminders.

The former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council had seven reminders, two final notices over this time period. One councillor was summoned to court, but it was paid before the hearing.

The former West Dorset District Council also saw several notices sent out, with seven reminders, two notices. Two councillors were summonsed to court in this time from the this council, with both paying before the hearing.

The former Purbeck District Council had three reminders sent out over the years in question. No court summons were issued.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: "Local authorities have a responsibility to all taxpayers to ensure that council tax is collected. Town halls pursuing councillors for non-payment demonstrates nobody is above the law. Many councils also act early when councillors get into arrears by deducting money from their allowances."

Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, MP Luke Hall, said: "Locally elected representatives, at all levels, should seek to inspire confidence and have the trust of the people who elect them. All residents, including councillors, should pay their council tax to help fund our precious local services and every local authority is required to adopt a code of conduct for all council members."

A spokesman for Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government team said: "Everyone is subject to the same rules if they fail to pay their council tax on time.

"As they are responsible for setting local taxation, all councillors have a particular responsibility to ensure they’re up to date with their council tax payments."