Police threat over £1debt

A pensioner has hit out at the TV Licensing authority for what he says is the heavy-handed way they went about claiming a £1 debt.

Robert Halliwell, 74, of Kingsway, Higher Ince, recieved a letter threatening him with a visit from the police if he did not pay what he owed – a sum which was not disclosed – despite having paid for his licence in March.

Stunned by the letter, which threatened "all sorts of things," Mr Halliwell rang the company and says he was told he he owed 1.

However, the authority insists it was Mr Halliwell's fault because he had failed to pay for his full licence in time.

Mr Halliwell said: "I suffer from angina and it wasn't a nice thing to happen.

"They said 'oh you wouldn't have got in any trouble' well that's fine for them to say but how was I supposed to know that?

Under the licensing agreement, once you turn 75 you are entilited to claim a free TV licence.

Mr Halliwell, who turns 75 in July, was aware of this and when he went to renew his licence as normal in March, he was told he would have to pay 33.87 for a licence to cover him until his free one arrived sometime around his birthday.

Having thought he had done all the right things, Mr Halliwell was shocked to be on the recieving end of the letter.

He said: "The letter should not have been sent.

"They should have sent a letter saying you owe a pound from April to July, not we are going to send the police."

Although he has not yet paid the money, Mr Halliwell said he is more than happy to do so.

He said: "I put it to them that an apology would be appropriate, at least an apology, but I've not heard anything."

Charlotte Hancock, a spokesman from TV Licensing, said: "Mr Halliwell decided to pay for his Short Term Licence by saving the money on his TV Licensing Savings card.

"He should have paid for his licence in full before 1 April. Mr

Halliwell did not put enough money on his savings card and he was sent three letters over a period of months advising him that he was unlicensed and that he needed to pay TV Licensing the outstanding balance.

"When the first letter was sent, Mr Halliwell owed more than 18.

"As Mr Halliwell did not pay the full amount requested and remained unlicensed, the letters became stronger in tone. Mr Halliwell is still unlicensed."