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A senior who was “just watching Coronation Street” and now has a criminal record has angered the BBC.

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According to a source, the woman who subscribed to a Sky TV plan and watched Coronation Street has been convicted of a crime.

After “failing to buy a TV licence,” “subscribing to a Sky package,” and “watching Coronation Street,” a retiree was given a criminal record.

In an effort to decrease the number of women convicted for license fee evasion, the BBC announced additional support for persons in “financial difficulty” to pay the TV licence fee in May.

It happened after a BBC investigation into gender imbalance was launched to determine why 75 percent of those charged are women.

However, prosecutions “keep coming,” according to Evening Standard court reporter Tristan Kirk.

In May, the BBC revealed plans to cut the number of prosecutions for not paying the TV licence.https://t.co/KMpqn7vskp

The prosecutions, however, keep coming.

A note from a Newcastle woman, 71, who had been in her home for 2 weeks & hadn’t got around to paying for a licence. pic.twitter.com/EDDHZdHARQ

— Tristan Kirk (@kirkkorner) September 1, 2023

Mr. Kirk revealed on X, then known as Twitter, that a Newcastle woman had lived in her home for two weeks without obtaining a TV license.

He posted a screenshot of a note that the 71-year-old allegedly wrote, which stated: “I have recently been experiencing financial difficulties and as a result, am [getting] guidance from Citizens guidance.

“I am happy to obtain a TV license for my property and repay my debt through deductions from my benefits if I am served with a fine.”

That retired woman had subscribed to a Sky TV package and watched Coronation Street, Mr. Kirk wrote on X. TV Licensing claims she received a written offer of an out-of-court resolution but declined it.

“She now has a criminal conviction, an £80 fine, £120 in costs, and a £32 surcharge to pay.”

The court reporter continued by sharing some of the people who had been caught without a TV license’s comments, calling them “often rather sad.”

Mr. Kirk continues by listing a few of the stated opinions, such as “I’m struggling financially,” “I was set up on a direct debit but get my money every four weeks so it was no use to me,” and “My health is upside down.”

“All comments from pensioners,” he wrote. Is pursuing criminal charges the best course of action here?

According to a TV Licensing spokeswoman, there has been a 66% decrease in TV Licensing prosecutions in England and Wales over the last five years (2017–22).

“Social circumstances beyond of the BBC’s control are mostly responsible for the gender discrepancy in prosecutions. We don’t like this inequality, and we’ve shown that we’re committed to helping customers who are having financial difficulties keep their licenses by putting together an action plan to improve customer service.

A trial is always the final option, and we have made progress by implementing programs like the Simple Payment Plan.

Customers who are having financial difficulties can choose the SPP plan, which enables them to spread payments out over the course of their license.

If a payment is neglected, it is made up during the course of the license. The BBC introduced SPP in 2020, and 179,000 new users joined it during the most recent fiscal year.

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