A South Tyneside pub boss who was hit with a £10,000 fine for illegally showing Premier League football says he was “the victim of a scam.”
Shangara Singh, 51, insists he signed up to what he believed was a genuine sports package for punters to enjoy live soccer at The Bridge in South Shields.
Instead, he was caught by investigators, broadcasting top games at the Wenlock Road boozer without a Sky or BT contract.
At the High Court in London last month, he was ordered to pay the whopping fine after being prosecuted by the Premier League.
He described the court action as “devastating” and hit out at the unnamed firm who he says sold him the package.
Mr Singh, who has run the pub for 16 years, said: “I don’t understand how I can be fined this amount of money. At first, I was told I could settle for £1,800, but then it was £3,000 and finally it was £10,000.
“When I got the first solicitors’ letter, I thought it was someone trying to take me for a ride.
“It was only when I saw the High Court stamp on further legal papers and they threatened me with bailiffs, that I realised it was serious.”
He added: “It was a huge shock. I thought I had signed up to a genuine package and was paying a company about £1,200 a year for two or three years.
“These companies come around looking genuine. The promotional materials they give you emphasis that what they are selling is legal. I’ve tried to contact them since I was fined but the number is dead.”
Mr Singh did not attend the court hearing, fearing he would incur heavy legal costs.
He says he has paid £2,000 as a first payment - as ordered within 14 days of the July 13 verdict - and must pay the remainder in 30 monthly instalments of £267.
The Bridge is one 22 establishments nationally that the Premier League this week revealed it had successfully taken legal action over, with fines totalling £218,000.
It has said some suppliers are making false claims to publicans - including that systems showing foreign channels are legal when they are not.
No one from the Premier League would comment on Mr Singh’s claim that his fine rose from an initial first demand, or how prosecution evidence was gathered.
A second South Tyneside pub, the Grey Horse in Mill Lane, Whitburn, was fined £11,000 for a similar breach.
Its present publicans confirmed they were not in charge during the period to which the fine relates.
Four Sunderland pubs - Ttonic and Chaplins, both in Sunderland city centre, and The Inn Place, at Doxford Park, and the Cavalier, at Silksworth - were also fined.
Two have confirmed they believed they were using bona fide games packages.