A High Wycombe family have been forced to pay back more than £50,000 after they illegally redeveloped an outbuilding and rented it out to people.

Members of the Gulzar family, who lived in Hughenden Road, were convicted last week after renting out the small building, despite repeated warnings from Wycombe District Council.

Judge Francis Sheridan told the defendants that if they failed to pay back £25,000 costs to the council, a £21,000 confiscation order or fines totalling £4,950 they could face a spell of imprisonment of up to 13 months each.

Passing sentence he said, the “penalty is expected to hurt” as it is designed to ensure compliance.

He added that they would also have to pay the “massive legal bill – for which you, the defendants, are responsible”

He also commended the council stating that officers had taken a “long, long, road to try to achieve compliance”.

He added that they deserved to be praised for their efforts in this case.

The Gulzar family “finally” complied with the enforcement notice last week prior to the court hearing by ensuring that all kitchen and bathroom facilities had been removed.

They stopped using the property for residential purposes in early 2015 after court summons were served on them.

Councillor David Johncock, cabinet member for Wycombe District Council, said: “If people break the law and make financial gain from their illegal activity, we will go after them.

“We will use full provision of the law to reclaim the money using the proceeds of crime act.

“This was a deliberate and wilful breach of planning control.

“The Gulzars showed absolutely no regard for the local community or those people they had living within the outbuilding.

“The message we want to send out is very clear – we will take action to protect the environment and living conditions for everyone within the district.”

The council worked with the Buckinghamshire County Council’s financial investigation team and used powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2004 to recover money made from the crimi - nal activity.

In total, £21,000 has been recovered – the sum the Gulzars had obtained from renting the outbuilding.