It would appear that the Hartlepool TV Licensing search warrant goons, who we wrote about yesterday, have been quite active over the last few weeks.
Baldy and Beardy, although having seen them in action we consider the nicknames Ronnie and Reggie more appropriate, executed another TV Licensing search warrant in nearby Trimdon about a fortnight ago. The lone female occupier in this case, who we'll call Michelle, saw commentary on Thursday's search and decided to upload her own video.
Michelle tells us that she only uses her TV set to watch pre-recorded DVDs and occasionally catch-up TV services. She had previously written to TV Licensing to explain that situation, which they acknowledged did not require a TV licence.
Sadly, unlike the video of Thursday's search, the video footage this time is slightly choppy, but it does reveal further unprofessional behaviour on the part of TV Licensing double act Baldy and Beardy.
The video begins with two officers from Durham Police standing on the doorstep of the unlicensed property. Michelle tells us that they barged their way through the door, as her 3-year-old daughter cowered terrified behind it. The image below shows the young girl hiding behind the door as the police enter.
Michelle's 3-year-old daughter is seen cowering behind the front door
as the police and TV Licensing barge into the property.
The female officer, who clearly has a tentative grasp of the law, begins by incorrectly saying: "By law you have to have a TV licence. They (TV Licensing goons) have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have got a TV here without a TV licence. That is a criminal offence, which you can go to jail for".
As regular readers will be very aware, the mere possession of a TV set (or carving knife) does not mean you're guilty of TV licence evasion (or have stabbed someone). Furthermore, it is a fact that you cannot be imprisoned for TV licence evasion, or indeed obstructing a TV Licensing search warrant. The maximum penalty for those offences are fines not exceeding level 3 (currently £1000) and level 5 (currently £5000) on the standard scale respectively.
The ill-informed female police officer convinces the occupier to allow the TV Licensing goons entry within the space of a minute or so. The party enter the living room and the occupier asks Beardy to show his ID card, which he is apparently reluctant to do with the camera rolling. The occupier challenges Baldy goon over comments he made on a previous visit. According to her, Baldy had previously threatened to "kick the door in and get a search warrant" if she refused to allow him entry.
Baldy's true colours come to the fore at about 2 mins and 35 seconds, when he tells the occupier "you need to stop drinking; you need to stop whatever you're doing that's wrong". Given his flippant attitude, we have no problems at all believing Michelle's claim that he was threatening on a previous visit. By this stage the young girl is hiding behind her mother for protection, as the TV Licensing goons continue their unnecessarily hostile line of questioning. A small baby is also seen in a bouncer on the living room floor, as Baldy rummages about in the corner of the room.
The spineless police officers, who clearly don't know much about what's happening, stand there gormlessly as the Baldy goon insults the poor lady in her living room. At 3 mins Beardy goon reads the pre-printed caution from the TVL178 Record of Interview form clutched in his hand. Baldy chips in that the caution "is for obstruction", even though both goons are now stood in the living room poking about the TV set on the wall.
The occupier asks the young male police officer "how am I obstructing them from doing their job?" The clueless officer quickly bats away that tricky question with "you need to ask these guys", gesturing towards one of the goons with a pointed finger.
In the closing minute we see Baldy goon picking up a Sky remote and viewing the Sky EPG on the TV screen, although that by itself is still not proof that the lady has viewed TV programme services. The BBC has previously admitted that using a TV set to listen to digital radio via a Sky box does not require a TV licence. TV Licensing were also defeated on a similar point of law in the now famous Steve Heather case.
Sadly unclear to the camera, the occupier claims that the goon actually had to plug in the Sky box to use it. Perhaps that's what he was rummaging about for in the corner of the room earlier? Maybe that's what he was doing at around the 2 minute mark, when his arm is seen to move in a pushing fashion towards something on the floor? If that is the case then Baldy goon himself installed the equipment, which is highly questionable to say the least. Hopefully the two police officers, dense as they appear, may have noticed exactly what happened at that stage.
In the closing 10 seconds of the video we hear Baldy saying "you didn't answer questions, you wouldn't let us in the house to start off with, so we're doing you for obstruction as well". The video then cuts out.
TV Licensing policy is that search warrants are executed by two goons, one of which is normally the Area Manager. Given his cocksure "I can say/do whatever I want" attitude, it seems likely that Baldy is the Area Manager in this case. He seems a particularly nasty piece of work.
Chances are he was the same Area Manager who assisted with "damage limitation" when one of his goons terrified a lone female by pushing and snatching at her door handle last year. Given the geography he may also have been the Area Manager of smoggy rapist goon Gary Catterick.
Clearly both of these low lives have an interesting interpretation of doing an honest day's work.
I hope the BBC is spotting a pattern of alarming behaviour with these two miscreants.
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Edit (20/5/14): We now have confirmed names for both of these goons: Baldy is Terry Docherty and Beardy is Burgess Nasr.