Botham pledges to defend victimised elderly from “terrorising” BBC debt collectors

Legendary cricketer Lord Ian Botham has pledged to stand up for poor pensioners fearful of bailiffs following the revocation of free TV licences for the over-75s.

Lord Botham revealed his shock at being inundated with correspondence from elderly people after penning a critique of the “woke” BBC in the Telegraph last month.

In his latest piece for the newspaper, the former England cricketer scolded the “BBC debt-collector army” which is “terrorising” pensioners into paying for a TV licence “they either can’t afford or simply don’t believe is worth paying.”

Over-75s lost their automatic exemption to paying for a TV licence in August last year, meaning 5 million elderly people had now to fork out the £157.50 to watch live television.

Non-payment causes them to be subject to the same enforcement policy as everyone else, irrespective of their health or wellbeing. Botham shared some of the e-mails he has received revealing cases where “demands are apparently being sent to those suffering from dementia and the blind.”

He vows to highlight the scandal further and insists “something needs to be done” to address the injustice, calling for any over-75s being threatened with court action to email him directly.

Botham’s testimony is consistent with data obtained by the Mail which showed that the BBC had hounded a staggering 525,000 over-75s with threatening letters since the revocation of the licence fee exemption.

Conservative MP Peter Bone commented at the time the figures were made public: “You’ve got this state monopoly which is chasing elderly people at a time when they are having to deal with so many other issues. You would have to be pretty heartless to do that, wouldn’t you.”

To add insult to injury, elderly folk – as are the rest of the country – are being forced to pay for a licence fee many of whom cannot afford, to fund a broadcaster that only a third of Brits feel still represents their views, according to the latest polling.

Time is ticking for the Beeb