THE TV Licensing authority have apologised to an artist after she received threatening letters telling her to get a licence despite not having a TV.

Laura Emerson is not even living at her house in Roddymoor, Crook, but for the past 18 months has been plagued with warnings by the TV Licensing Authority.

She bought the house last year and plans to move in next month after having a major renovation carried out.

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But she has received nine letters from TV Licensing demanding she get a licence, with the last one telling her to prepare for a court date.

She said: “After the first letter I rang them and explained that I’m not in the house yet but even when I am I will not have a TV, and thought nothing more about it.

“But then I kept getting letters and the last one, which told me they were taking me to court, was just too much.

“It was annoying up to that point but then it became quite threatening.

“They think you are guilty before you have even had a chance to do anything, they are just harassing me.”

The 26-year-old even spoke to a solicitor about the letters who told her not to worry.

She said: “If I was an old lady without access to a solicitor it might really panic me.”

A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “When we are notified an address is temporarily unoccupied, for example if it is being renovated, we can put a hold on letters to the property for six months.

“After this we will write to the address to check whether the situation at the property has changed.

“If we don’t hear from the householder then we won’t be aware that a licence isn’t required and the tone of the letters will become stronger as we need to inform people of the risks of prosecution if they require a licence and don’t have one.

“We have noted on our systems that the property is still unoccupied.

“We do our best not to trouble those who do not need a licence and apologise for any alarm caused.”