Pensioner gets 100th letter from TV Licensing even though he hasn't owned a television since 1997

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Derek Cheesbrough has been sent 100 letters from TV Licensing despite not owning a TV since 1997 (SWNS)

A pensioner who gave up watching “rubbish” television 22 years ago has blasted TV Licensing for sending him 100 "intimidating" letters.

Fed-up Derek Cheesbrough wrote to officials in 1997 telling them he would no longer be watching the box as he thought he was "one of those clever people who could be selective and switch off".

But he claims that he had a letter telling him he was breaking the law within a week.

Mr Cheesbrough, of Plymouth, Devon, has now received his 100th monthly warning - each one advising him of the consequences of illegal viewing.

Mr Cheesbrough said the monthly letters were 'intimidating' (SWNS)

He claims the “threats” are “a ruthless, uncaring programme of inducing mental duress to require an innocent recipient to reply when they have no legal obligation to do so”.

Mr Cheesbrough said: “I’ve had 100 letters, each threatening a knock on the door any time day or night, but no one has ever come.

"[They arrive] in a suitably intimidating red envelope."

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Mr Cheesbrough does not have the internet at home and does not own a smartphone.

He said he wanted to speak out as he fears that some elderly people who don’t watch television might be intimidated into stumping up.

He previously hit the headlines when he received his 50th letter, which prompted some people to get in touch.

TV Licensing said they 'try not to trouble people who genuinely don’t need a licence' (PA)

“I had letters from a 92-year-old blind woman from Cornwall, and a 72-year-old living on the moors with no TV reception,” he said.

The BBC outsources licence fee collections to Capita.

A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “We try not to trouble people who genuinely don’t need a licence.

“We have a duty to enforce the law and so we write to all addresses where there is no TV licence or a current declaration to say that one isn’t needed.”

Mr Cheesbrough agreed that a less threatening letter, sent out once a year, would be less problematic.

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