Winchester City Council has dropped criminal charges against a property landlord over an unpaid licence fee.

Michael Druitt, 49, company director, was being prosecuted over allegations regarding payment of a licence at a property in Winnall Manor Road, Winnall.

He had been due to appear at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on October 26 on charges of operating a Home in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence.

However the council has withdrawn the summons after admitting it did not have evidence that Mr Druitt was operating the property as an HMO between February 2 and June 15 this year.

Mr Druitt, of Addlestone, Surrey, said his offence stemmed from refusing his protest in not paying the full cost of the licence because it has risen by 117 per cent in two years, from £395 in 2007 to £854 in 2009.

Now Mr Druitt says he is preparing to start civil proceedings against the city council for loss of earnings.

Mr Druitt said: “I’m not letting this drop.

It has been a personal vendetta.”

A city council spokesman said: “Although Mr Druitt is of the opinion that the HMO licence fee charged by Winchester City Council is unreasonable the most expensive HMO licence in England is £2,665 charged by Tendring District Council.”