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Friday 20 December 2013

Despicable TV Licensing Goons Executing Search Warrant

TV Licensing executed a search warrant in Hartlepool yesterday in what may have been their most despicable visit to a legally-licence-free property ever.

The visit, captured in a 25 minute video uploaded to YouTube, begins with two TV Licensing goons (who we’ll refer to as Baldy and Beardy, although we can think of many less flattering but equally accurate descriptions) standing on the doorstep with two police officers. Tempers are clearly frayed, as the occupier vocally asserts that he does not watch live broadcast TV programmes within the property. The occupier also explains how he has previously informed TV Licensing that he no longer needs a TV licence, after cancelling his Virgin Media subscription back in 2012.

Within a short period of time it becomes apparent that the occupier is of the Freeman of the Land (FMOTL) persuasion. Demonstrating his misguided FMOTL logic, the occupier incorrectly announces that “an Act is not the law; it’s an agreement between two parties” and “this is not a criminal matter; it’s a civil matter”. Contrary to popular FMOTL belief TV licence evasion is a criminal offence.

The occupier asks Baldy goon what evidence they presented at Teesside Magistrates’ in order to obtain the warrant. Baldy confirms that during a previous visit one of his colleagues (during either this visit or this visit) had seen a TV set on the wall of the front room. That evidence seems a little tenuous to say the least, but it was obviously sufficient for some dribbly old JP to authorise the search. Crucially, Baldy also confirms that the occupier had previously withdrawn TV Licensing's implied rights of access (WOIRA) to the property.

The occupier, who is clearly aware that TV Licensing goons are employed by hapless BBC contractor Capita Business Services Ltd, expresses his disgust towards their kind: “I do not trust these people (Capita) at all, with their bully-boy techniques and trying to intimidate people”.

Clearly overwhelmed and confused by the situation, his FMOTL arguments falling on deaf ears, the occupier retreats further into the property and shows the goons the TV set mounted on his living room wall. The goons and police follow, with PC 1804 taking up the lead speaking role on behalf of Cleveland Police (possibly one of the most corrupt police forces in the UK, if you Google Sean Price and Dave McLuckie). It’s at this stage that the worlds of legal fact and TV Licensing fiction becomes blurred.

I do not suppose for one moment that the two TV Licensing goons will record the full facts and context of the living room conversation that ensued. It is rather fortuitous that the occupier had the good sense to capture the entire visit on film, as the unprofessional behaviour of both goons almost defies belief.

In the living room the occupier explains that the TV set on the wall is displaying non-live (e.g. non-TV programme service) content streamed from a hard disk drive. This viewing of this content categorically does not require a TV licence. Baldy goon, seemingly without a flicker of conscience, makes the incorrect statement: “Under the Telecommunications (sic) Act 2003 if you have receiving equipment than you must have a TV licence”. 

That is not the case. The law is quite clear that a licence is only needed if equipment is installed or used for the purposes of receiving TV programme services. Owning or possessing equipment capable of receiving TV programme services is totally irrelevant - even more so in an era when anyone with web access is only a few clicks away from watching TV. It is the act of receiving TV programme services that matters - not the capability to do so. His farcical argument is analogous to saying anyone who has a car on the driveway and beer in the fridge is a drink driver.

His colleague, Beardy, asks the occupier to put BBC One on for them. The occupier, wisely sensing their honey trap, refuses to turn on BBC One as he is not correctly licensed to do so.

PC 1804 then chips in with this incorrect piece of information: “Once you have the facility to receive it (TV programmes) you need a licence”.

In a bid to prove to the two bumbling goons that a licence is not needed to merely own any sort of equipment, the occupier navigates to the TV Licensing website and reads them an extract: “You only need a TV licence if you watch or record live TV”. 

As the occupier taps at the keyboard Beardy goon says: “You’re streaming it live, aren’t you?” The occupier quickly reiterates that he has not been watching any live TV programmes, to which Baldy goon replies: "You can't prove that you haven't been, can you?" The occupier, clearly exasperated by this stage, replies: "You can't prove that I have".

Maybe it's because of the closeness to Christmas, but beardy goon decides to pursue some pantomime style of questioning:
Beardy - “Is this (image on TV set) coming through the computer, is it?”
Occupier - “No, it’s coming from a hard disk drive”
Beardy - “How did it get onto the hard disk drive?"
Occupier - “From a DVD”
Beardy - “How did it get onto the DVD?”
Occupier - "Don't give me that bull. It was made in a TV studio. It wasn't broadcast by the BBC or any other entity"

His voice breaking with distress, the occupier pleads with PC 1804 "can't you see what they're trying to do?", but he's clearly thick as pork so it too falls on deaf ears.

By this stage Beardy goon is taking a keen interest in the completion of his TVL178 Record of Interview form. As he scratches away with his crayon the occupier rightly asks to see what is being written. Beardy isn't too keen to show his scribblings, but eventually relents and lets the occupier read.

At about 13 minutes and 40 seconds this story takes its most alarming twist when the following is said:
Occupier - "All right, I'll show you TV 1, but not through the computer because obviously I can receive it through the computer, but it doesn't mean I watch it. Anybody with a computer can receive it"
Baldy (cuts off occupier mid-sentence) - "So you're saying you can receive it? That'll do us, that's all we need. We just need your admissions, that'll do us. You've just said, in front of a police officer..."
Occupier - "Have I watched it though? Have I watched it?"
Baldy - "That's not  for me to judge"
PC 1804 (incorrectly) - "I believe the point of law is that if you have the facility to receive it you need a licence"
Occupier (quite correctly) - "It's not. Just because you've got the equipment doesn't mean you're going to commit the crime"

After further heated discussion the occupier reluctantly gives his name to Beardy goon. Beardy goon approaches the occupier's wife to get her to sign the TVL178, but she refuses.

The goons and police leave shortly afterwards.

This is by far the most sickening TV Licensing search warrant video we have seen. The way the goons are clearly prepared to twist, contort and selectively quote the occupier's words out of context is a matter of grave concern. That PC 1804 stands by without saying anything is also alarming, as is his dire lack of knowledge about TV licence law.

If this one does end up going to court the BBC can be sure that we will be very vocal about the unscrupulous way this search "evidence" was collected. They can also be sure that we'll be packing the public gallery at Teesside Magistrates' in support of their most recent victim.

TV Licensing are low-life scum, pure and simple. The actions of these rogue employees, when amplified far and wide across the web, will do nothing but reinforce that opinion with the wider public.

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Edit (20/12/13): These two TV Licensing goons have been caught on camera executing another Hartlepool search warrant. Their behaviour on that occasion is equally disturbing. See this post for more information.

Edit (20/5/14): We now have confirmed names for both of these goons: Baldy is Terry Docherty, who lives in Sunderland, and Beardy is Burgess Nasr, who lives in Marske.


Anonymous said...

I have never seen anything like this video. At first I thought it was a spoof and that TVL resistors were all in costumes doing some form of play.

When I realised it was real I lost sleep over it. (I watched it on my laptop in bed, wonder if I need a licence for that.)

If they try this at my house then I will be in jail. The FMOTL types are moronic but in this instance I think we really are dealing with tyranny.

People need to stand up and not take this, whatever the consequences.

Anonymous said...

I think these particular rats may have just have pulled the trigger on themselves after swimming in this barrel of piss excecise.

If ever a video was going to turn public opinion against tvl this hopefully is the one.

The LO in this case played a legendary role.

Unknown said...

I have been legally licence free for over a year now as I never want give the BBC a penny, and there are so many better forms of entertainment available now but after watching that vid I am now disgusted and hate the BBC with passion. How they can treat a family that way I will never know and at Christmas too.

Admin said...

Thanks all for your comments.

Chris said...

I have a TV with an aerial which I use to listen to Magic 105 radio on Freeview (license not needed) and various catchup/netflix type stuff (license not needed).

However after seeing this I have removed the aerial and reset the TV to clear all channels. I was doing nothing wrong but imagine if they can do this to a person with no aerial, imagine what they would do to someone with an aerial and channels tuned in but never selected. I doubt any court would believe me and of course the paperwork and court training sessions would seal the deal.

An absolute disgrace.

Incidentally on the subject of using Freeview for radio, most TVs will of course configure the TV channels too as part of the channel setup. If only listening to the radio you do not need a license (see TVL's own site in the FOI part) but would they argue that this configuration is "installed" and therefore does require a license do you think?


Chris said...

Another episode with the same wannabe stormtrooper, and the same kind of coppers giving the LO grief.

And the same arguments, "you get your chance to prove it in court". And do I hear them correctly, they tell the LO "you need to stop drinking"??!!!!!!!!


Unknown said...

This is complete bullshit... i own a car and i am capable of breaking the law every day.. but i don't. the police are not knocking on my door stating that because i have the car (equipment) i must be guilty of a offense, i own a laptop and a internet connection. does that make me a pedophile because this equipment could be used to access indecent images of children..what the hell is going on in this country.

bob said...

Plods comments are unacceptable; he's there to see that goons are not massacred not to spout his barrack-room lawyer opinions; he certainly needs to be told his place and to keep his opinions to himself certainly in people's homes. A formal complaint would be in order I think so that in future they just stand there are calm things down if need be.

Admin said...

Bullshit is the word. Last night my car was on the drive, keys were where I keep them and beer was in the fridge.

According to these two TV Licensing goons that probably means I'm a drink driver!

David Rooke said...

Unbelievable ! I think TVL may have finally shot themselves in the foot by forcing themselves into this mans home and encouraging the police to help them with their lies.

I have shared this on Facebook, lets hope it goes viral !

Colin Richards said...

I can't believe my eyes and ears here. If this is not a set up I don't know what is. The householder tells them until he is blue in the face that he is not watching live TV, but they choose to focus on the millisecond of part conversation that is potentially incriminating. What a gutter cowboy outfit TV Licensing is.

Lorna said...

Absolutely disgusting.

That is nothing short of a fit up.

How did you say that the BBC was related to this shower?

bob said...

If they are prepared to play fast and loose with the law when they know they are being filmed I wonder what depths they'd sink to if they didn't know. Truly shocking video and I hope it will be spread far and wide so people are warned.

Are there usually two policemen for a warrant? Especially as it was a family home with wife there; this seems over the top and gives lie to the mantra that police are undermanned.

Keep up the good work.

adee said...

If it goes to court, I'm there with you. Not too far from me.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes Ive seen a fake warrant and also fake police, so I would check that these are in fact real police officers

Admin said...

Funny, all the time I've been doing this I've never once seen a fake warrant.

What I have seen is plenty of people, mainly FMOTL, who have such a poor grasp of the law that they think all warrants are fake/invalid.

Anonymous said...

Cleveland police are so corrupt . I had run in with Cleveland police in sept last year a police officer came to my home and just walk inside and said he was taking my TV as I have been having problems with buy as you viwe . He said he take it by force if needed I told him to try and if he did I would detane him by force if needed . I got him out of my house he tried to get back in but I locked the door . I went and seen his inspector and was told he sould not of got involved and he be spoken to and all officer in the Cleveland force would be reminded that there only attend to keep the peace and not to get involved in anything other then that . This shows this as not happend Cleveland police are bully's and I wast of our tax . Or by way the officer was pc kiss and I phoned the police as I was getting arrastment by buy as you viwe .

Anonymous said...

We live in an area where Capita/G4S carries out services for several companies including reading power supply meters for E-ON as well as carrying out checks for TV licenses.

When an implied right of access for the TV is withdrawn but Capita/G4S is reading a meter the operator obviously has access into the property and has all the owners details could they use this to further the TV license enquiry.

We found out of the dual role of Capita/G4S when our new EON meter was to be read for the first time and the Capita/G4S employee became confused and started questioning us about TV licenses including giving me a form 178 in an envelope (actually I tore it up and placed it back in his hand) and suggested that he just got on and read the meter and refused to discuss TV license. (I do have a license)

So beware of this

Admin said...

A very good question Anon and, to be honest, we hadn't really considered that possibility.

The Data Protection Act 1998 is all about protecting the information rights of individuals. It would be contrary to the Act if G4S or whoever were to use meter reading information for the purposes of TV licence enforcement. However, if they did break the rules it would probably be very difficult to pin anything on them.

It all boils down to G4S's integrity about how they handing the information they are entrusted with...

Anonymous said...

i have just found out that capita are a major contractors for most police forces up and down the UK,they have a contract with the police force that attend this property,look at the capita website its all there,you are never going to win where both agencies at your doorstep at doing business contracts together.

Unknown said...

On Captia's website they've their grubby little fingers in many pies including the NHS !!!

Anonymous said...

Get caught all they do is make u get a licence then all u do it wait 1-2 months ring em up tell em uve just moved into the property and dont wish to contract. Thus restarting their investigation all over! You can continue this method over and over! Works a treat

Anonymous said...

capata are major contractors to this police force,its on the capata website,surely this could mean that that both party's are acting together,the police are only there to prevent a breach of the peace,not enforce the warrant...the can assist with entry into a home for this as they don't have the warrent,it capata and it the bbc policy not to force entry into a home...the sooner they do away with this licence the better !!

Anonymous said...

i posted before that the police can assist with entry into a home where tvl have a warrant,this is incorrect,they can not assist with entry in anyway at all,there attending to prevent a preach of the peace,,,its tvl that the warrant is issued to,not the police,and the police are certainly not allowed to help in the search of your home,,,if the police force there way in or assist in a search the an ipcc case could be worth starting against the officers attending,you can always also ask for a Sargent to attend if you are not happy with the polices conduct,the police in this clip and Hartypool clip were out of order in forcing entry,there actions could be illegal.

Anonymous said...


Stephen Fowler said...

Very interesting and alarming piece as it shows that no matter what the law in the end it is one person against two people from Capita twisting the facts and backed by the police. It is hard for anyone to defend themselves when the authorities (the police, the courts, the magistrates) support this Capita organisation. I would like to know the outcome of this - did the man pay a fine in the end?

I suppose the mistake this victim of Capita made was to have his TV in view of the window.

Anonymous said...

the police are not their to enforce the warrant,just ensure there is no breach of the peace.If you refuse to let them in even under warrant,the police can not make you.Do not let them in.The bloke in the video who issues the caution is the one caught by the daily mail.