Pensioner and former criminal lawyer 'hounded' by threatening letters from BBC TV licence agent sues to take a stand

Tuesday 23 January 2024

A pensioner is taking legal action after claiming he was hounded by TV licence enforcement agents.

Alistair Bollington began receiving threatening letters after a mix up when he moved home in Glasgow and bought a second licence, rather than transfer his old licence to his new address.

Speaking to TalkToday's Jeremy Kyle, he said: "I started received letters despite having two licences. They said they would prosecute me and that I would get a visit. It sounded very intimidating.

"They ignored everything I said to them. I wrote to them repeatedly saying, look, I have a licence, could you stop sending me these stupid letters?"

Mr Bollington, a former criminal lawyer, says he is taking legal action against Capita PLC, the company he accuses of sending him the letters on behalf of the BBC, to take a stand.

    He said: "It's all very well to ask for a debt to be paid but not in this kind of way. I'm suing this company because this is a widespread issue and, in many cases, completely unjustified."

    "These collection agencies don't know what they're doing and don't listen to what they're told. I know for a fact that people will plead guilty to criminal charges when they're not actually guilty.

    "People are very frightened by court proceedings."

    Jeremy remarked: "This is disgusting and wrong. It smacks a bit of what's happening with Horizon and the post office. You had a legal background so you knew what to do. But many do not.

    "People are being intimidated and frankly, that is deplorable."

    The Ministry of Justice said it was carrying out a review of TV Licensing prosecutions after a TalkTV investigation revealed that nearly 130 people each day are prosecuted for failing to pay £159 for a licence.

    The majority are some of the poorest people in Britain and can be fined up to £1,000 despite having crippling medical conditions such as dementia and cancer.

    In a statement, a TV Licensing spokesperson said: “TV Licensing’s primary aim is to help people stay licensed and avoid prosecution - which is always a last resort.”

    In December the Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said criminal prosecutions for non-payers was morally indefensible.

    Advertisement

    Advertisement

    Advertisement