A BARRY homeowner of 22 years who says she has 'religiously’ paid her Vale of Glamorgan Council tax each month has spoken of her shock at council letters warning her of "further recovery action" after being told she was in arrears - by one penny.

Julie Spry, 53, of Heritage Drive, said she pays £100 a month for ten months of the year, makes her payments over the phone and has never defaulted.

So she was baffled to be told that her account could be in debit, and as to why the council felt the need to send her two letters in eight days over such a small amount.

The council has since apologised and said the issue was due to a software error.

Ms Spry, who works for Cardiff council, said she was quite shocked by the tone of the second letter.

"I religiously pay my council tax every month," she added. "I’m particular about my bills and I’m very sensible with my money.

“How could I be a penny in arrears?

"The first letter said a payment of one penny was 'required immediately' and failure to do this within seven days, or contact the council tax office to discuss the situation, would result in my payment arrangement being cancelled.

"I tried to call the council on numerous occasions but couldn't get through, and then when I did, the battery’s charge failed on my mobile phone."

"I then got a second letter saying your arrangement has now been cancelled. It also said 'unless your account is brought up to date further recovery action will be taken'.

“But what court in the land would look at this?

“They would be hysterical.

"Each letter must have cost several times the amount of the supposed debt to send."

A Vale council spokesman said: “We have sent Mrs Spry a letter of apology and would again like to express our regret at this unfortunate situation.

“It was down to a software error that has since been rectified and Mrs Spry's account now reflects the correct position.

“As a result of this issue, we have reviewed our processes with the aim of ensuring such a mistake cannot be repeated."