Ian asks police to foot £50 T.V. bill

First published on Thursday 02 May 2002

   An Evesham man believes the police should foot the bill for putting right his television.

   Ian Jones, aged 44, of Bewdley Street, says West Mercia Constabulary should pay the £50 fee he has been charged to correct his set after four radio communication aerials installed by private digital company Airwave caused interference to a number of televisions in the Merstow Green area.

   The aerials were installed on Evesham Fire Station's drill tower in March to improve police radio communications.

   Mr Jones contacted the Radio Communications Agency, which sent out engineers to investigate the problem. They fitted a filter to rectify his television's picture quality, for which he has now been billed.

   He said he was writing a letter to the Chief Constable of West Mercia Constabulary to express his annoyance.

   He said: "The Radio Communications Agency told me I may incur a £50 charge should the fault be found in my equipment.

   "It is almost as if the Radio Communications Agency and the police have conspired to mess everybody up, because if people don't have a clear television picture then they aren't going to have a lot of choice but to pay the charge."

   West Mercia Police, though, are denying responsibility for the problem and Kate Tonge, force press officer, said: "This is an Airwave issue and any concerns about the siting of the masts should be directed at them."

   Airwave communications manager Susan Moore said the masts had been correctly installed to guidelines and frequencies recommended by the Radio Communications Agency.

   She said: "The problems are caused because some of the equipment that people have doesn't filter out the signal from our masts.

   "We are working with the agency to try and find a solution, but we need to be able to see the scope of this problem.

   "We are considerate of those who have been affected, but we haven't done anything wrong. The police tell us what coverage they need and where and we choose the site."

   Derek German, Radio Communications Agency spokesman, said they had received six written complaints and several calls.

   He added: "We have identified a weakness in the installation and by fitting this filter we've provided a cure.

   "Our policy is that if we investigate a complaint, a set fee of £50 is charged, which can include the fitting of the filter."