Yes, we have no TV

GIVING up the TV was the easy part – but keeping away the detector vans and threat of prosecution has proved a tad more difficult.For Suffolk couple Michael and Nicola Hughes now feel as if they are starring in their own mini-soap and the next episode could feature a visit from an enforcement officer, unless there is a final twist in the tale.

GIVING up the TV was the easy part - but keeping away the detector vans and threat of prosecution has proved a tad more difficult.

For Suffolk couple Michael and Nicola Hughes now feel as if they are starring in their own mini-soap and the next episode could feature a visit from an enforcement officer, unless there is a final twist in the tale.

They have become frustrated that while the TV Licensing service initially accepted they no longer had a TV set and even sent them a £60 licence refund, it has now started to send threatening letters telling them to buy a licence.

Mr Hughes, of Chapel Lane, Wickham Market, said they had decided to get rid of the TV and wrote to tell the licensing authority.

He said: "We just got bored with it and decided to do without.

"We found we were watching less and less and what we were watching was incredibly depressing - Iraq, miserable soaps, scare stories.

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"So now we don't have a TV in the house and we are not missing it at all.

"We got in touch with the licensing authority and told them we had got rid of the TV and they said lots of people are doing that now, which was quite interesting.

"They then sent us a £60 refund for the unused part of our TV licence and we thought that would be the end of it."

However, then the letters started to arrive telling them the authority's records showed they no longer had a TV licence and needed to buy one immediately.

Mr Hughes, a journalist with the Let's Talk magazine said: "We didn't bother too much about the first letter, but then a second arrived and now a third, telling us we are risking prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 and our details had been passed on to enforcement officers and they will visit us soon.

"But the letters do not tell you how to contact them - only how to pay.

"If they checked their own records they would know that we do not have a TV set and that they sent us a £60 licence refund!

"Now we feel as if we are waiting for the man dressed in black from the Milk Tray advert to come crashing through our window to see if we have a TV set!"

A TV Licensing spokesman said: "We would like to apologise to Mr and Mrs Hughes for the continued mailings requesting payment of their TV licence, which were caused by an operator error.

"We have a database of over 28 million addresses and it is possible for mistakes to happen. Where we fail in our aim to get things right first time, we try to correct mistakes quickly and we rely on people letting us know if there are any problems with the mailings so that we can keep our database up-to-date. We will be contacting Mr and Mrs Hughes to apologise and to explain the situation."

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