Eric Arthur Gotts

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Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Albert H » Mon Mar 04, 2024 6:15 pm

Eric Gotts - nemesis of many London stations - has died at the age of 92. Apparently Faecesbook is full of messages about it (I haven't seen them because I don't do FB- I have a life!).

Eric was a persistent menace to many stations, and did all he could to get them off the air. On occasion, he was less that honest in Court (I got off one charge because he was shown to have lied!), and sometimes he used rather underhand tactics. We just had to be smarter than he was (and we mostly were).

Many are saying "good riddance", but I found him (mostly) to be a worthy adversary. However, I admit that I disconnected the Emergency Telephone in a tower block lift, and then switched off the supply to that lift whilst he was between floors on the way to raid our station. He was there for several hours until Plod could find a Lift Engineer at 3 am who was willing to go there and re-energise the lift!

He was (probably) also the first victim of the biological counter-measures we employed against rig thieves (Shigella is particularly nasty!).

Many station operators - particularly from the 70s and 80s - will have stories about Eric!
"Why is my rig humming?"
"Because it doesn't know the words!"
;)

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by famefm » Mon Mar 04, 2024 11:23 pm

The main man against the 1970s and 80s pirates and was definitely one of a kind and I don't think anyone today has an agent like him at ofcom now

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Wk-end » Tue Mar 05, 2024 7:55 pm

We all might of hated the dti but...... But radio would'nt have been the same without them if it was easy.
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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by famefm » Tue Mar 05, 2024 10:44 pm

I don't think anyone after Eric's people were as harsh and some of the 80s equipment and studios cost a fortune and were taken away and never returned to the owners ever again

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by rigmo » Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:13 pm

a typical indoctrinated soldier... there is nothing human about him...

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by LeeCavanagh » Thu Mar 07, 2024 1:27 am

Alan clayton was was the name i remember from the north west, no longer there.
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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Nick Catford » Fri Mar 08, 2024 3:16 pm

A number of people have commented over the last few days that he was only "doing his job". I disagree - Jim Crow was doing his job, Brian Williams was doing his job, Brian Copsey was doing his job. Eric Gotts was a zealot doing far more than his job required of him to get the pirates off the air. I spoke to his former colleague Brian Copsey at length in 2009 about his time in the Post Office/DTI and what he thought of Gotts. He didn't have a good word to say about him and said that nobody in the department liked him and eventually Brian Copsey couldn't work with him any longer and resigned.
I first met Eric Gotts in 1969 when, in the London area, raids were led by Assistant Executive Engineer Stanley William Smith and three Technical Officers, Eric Arthur Gotts, Brian Charles Williams and Victor Arthur William Frisbee. In 1970 Smith moved on and Gotts took charge of the raids. If he managed to catch people he was often violent and abusive. On one occasion, on 2nd January 1977 Radio Jackie was broadcasting from a field at Malden Manor in Surrey. One person, Michael D was standing by the transmitter while other staff were acting as lookouts walking around the site with others driving round watching out for the arrival of the Post Office officers who were often spotted long before they got to the transmitter. On this occasion they managed to sneak in and by the time Mike saw them they were virtually on top of the transmission site. Mike picked up the transmitter in an attempt to run off with it but Gotts grabbed him and a fight ensued. Gotts grabbed the transmitter and hit Mike with it knocking him to the ground. A number of our lookouts saw the assault as did some members of the public who were walking by along the footpath. Nobody else got involved as Gotts was out of control by this time. I spoke to the couple who were walking by who were shocked by what they had seen. I took their phone number.
Later that day, all the Jackie staff met at a local pub - we always had our debrief at a pub during the evening after a transmission. It was there that Mike decided that Gotts had gone too far and he wanted to take action against him for assault. Mike took legal advice and, as a result, the matter was reported to the police and Gotts was issued with a summons for common assault. I got involved with the prosecution taking on the roll of making sure all the witnesses including the two members of the public (who had agreed to give evidence) knew exactly what they were going to say.
Before the court case Mike was also issued with a summons for "molesting a post office engineer in the execution of his duty" Both cases came before Kingston magistrates in July 1977. The case against Mike was thrown out because Gotts' two witnesses (Brian Copsey and another) both said that at the time of the incident they were looking the other way and didn't actually see anything. Gotts was convicted of assault and given a conditional charge and ordered to pay prosecution costs. It didn't matter that he was given a conditional discharge; the important thing was that he got a criminal conviction.
Gotts did of course appeal against the conviction and this was heard at Kingston Crown Court in February 1978. I will quote from the Merton News 12.2.78 which reported the case with the headline "Judge criticises Post Office - Wrong the seize pirate radio equipment. A pirate radio station that broadcasts in South London has won a victory against the Post Office. A Crown Court judge has ruled the Post Office has exceeded their authority when they seized a transmitter from a field at Malden Manor. The court heard that a running battle followed. During the fight the Post Office employee Eric Gotts assaulted radio Jackie engineer Michael D. Gotts was later convicted by Kingston Magistrates of assault. Gotts appealed against the conviction but this was dismissed by Judge John Baker. The judge pointed out that the Post Office had no right under the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act to take equipment without a court order. In this case the Post Office had no court order. Gotts' conviction was ordered to stand and he was ordered to pay costs"
This was a very important judgement. Not only did Gotts lose his promotion for 5 years but in the following 5 years no land based pirates in the UK were raided as it was now clear that there was no right to seize transmitters as had happened many times in the past. The 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act is quite clear. Transmitters can be inspected and tested but they can't be seized. Gotts exceeded his authority and paid the price.
I am sorry to hear that Gotts has passed on I would love to have spoken to him and got his view. I know one ex-pirate did speak to him recently and he claimed he was "just doing my job". No Eric you weren't you were exceeding your authority. It was however a long time ago. RIP Eric Arthur Gotts.

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by LeeCavanagh » Fri Mar 08, 2024 11:21 pm

In my view they should have more authority , including use of minimal force or restraint (like police have), and that comes from someone who has had their studio taken , it’s not like we don’t know we are committing an offence if we broadcast unlicensed. I didn’t get it back but I wish i had known the above, in my case they didn’t have a warrant and were let in by my sister who didn’t know any better whilst I was at school.

They didn’t like it when I said “you wouldn’t have got in without a warrant had I been there “
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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by oldtech » Sat Mar 09, 2024 12:05 pm

Let's hope he realised the futility of it all when Radio Jackie got licensed, someone should put a RJ car sticker on his gravestone

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Albert H » Wed Mar 13, 2024 2:33 am

Another failed Gotts prosecution was a little south London station "Bedside Radio" back in 1983. Our DJ on the air at the time - Nigel - had the presence of mind to fully open the mic fader as Gotts came charging in. The recording of the raid has Gotts clearly telling his colleague "Kill it Brian", and shouting at both Nigel and the police officers he'd brought with him!. When the summons arrived, it was returned - with our complements and a cassette copy of Eric clearly contravening the WTA 1949 by "operating the transmitter without a licence". No further legal action ensued!
"Why is my rig humming?"
"Because it doesn't know the words!"
;)

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by King Croccy » Wed Mar 13, 2024 5:01 pm


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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Premier-Carousel » Fri Mar 15, 2024 2:19 pm

I remember Charlie Turner once telling me that when KFM Stockport suffered it's 'big' raid (shortly after the legislation change) in I think November 84, that as well as the 'usual suspects' Yates, Clayton, et al, Gotts had travelled up from that there London to 'share the glory'.

Not a pleasant individual however efficient he was or wasn't at his 'job'

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by shuffy » Fri Mar 15, 2024 4:52 pm

Someone else told me that tale (come to think of it, it might have been you!) They hit Southside the same week - Gotts was defintely not on that one!

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Albert H » Wed Mar 20, 2024 11:33 pm

It's nice to remember that Gotts never got the better of me - despite chasing me almost the whole length of Sydenham Hill.

A friend of mine in court - being prosecuted (or persecuted!) by Gotts - when asked if he had anything to say for himself (after a £120 fine was imposed) told the Magistrate "Looks like we'll have to increase the Advertising Rates, thanks to Mr Gotts!" Everyone in the court - with the exception of Eric - laughed!
"Why is my rig humming?"
"Because it doesn't know the words!"
;)

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Freddie-Archer » Tue Jun 18, 2024 2:42 pm

I never met Gotts, unless he was at Simon Barrets court case.
Does anyone know what happened to Michael Hawkins, from Colchester goon=squad? I bumped into him, a couple of times during RCSW's time in the early 1980s.
He must be pushing up daisies by now. :)

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by DW1413 » Thu Jul 18, 2024 8:58 am

It's interesting that Gotts was at Stockport in November 1984, as I suspect he was present at an attempted raid on my station "Station M" in February 1984 on the Wirral, Merseyside. I say I "suspect" it was him as at the time I had no idea who the GPO/DTI guys were, but the engineer from another Wirral station told me from the descriptions I gave to him that we had been visited by Eric Gotts and Gordon Yates. He said that it was them who raided his station and another Wirral station the same week, as Gotts had been sent up North to assist with taking the Merseyside pirates off air. At the time there were a lot of AM pirates operating from tower blocks on Wirrral, and at least one had started 7 days a week broadcasts by then. Purely by chance, Station M was saved from the raid by my German Shepherd dog!

I am now a presenter on Merseyland Alternative radio, and i have put my full radio recollections on our station website before I forget them completely, its a very long read so I have summarised the part about the Gotts/Yates visit below.

Link to "War and Peace" length recollections: https://merseyland.uk/dave-wilson-tfs/

Excerpt:

It was while broadcasting from my parent’s house on 1413 kHz with about 120 watts into a quarter wave long wire in February 1984 that we had a visit from the GPO men (I don’t think they were the DTI at that point). They were unsuccessful in gaining access to the house, thanks to pure luck. My dad was just taking our German Sheperd dog Tara out for a walk and spotted them looking at the aerial, taking readings and walking away, presumably on their way to get a search warrant to come back with later. He told my mum and she burst in while I was live on air with the microphone on and told me what hadhappened, so I suppose the GPO heard that and knew we had seen them.

We switched the transmitter off, and the GPO men came back and knocked on the door. I opened the door but didn’t let them in. My dad was standing behind them by our garden gate with Tara the dog. Tara was very friendly and had never snarled at anyone in her life before, but she sure didn’t like the GPO trackers! One of the men made a move towards me and was right in my face, and Tara went mad behind him and was snarling, barking and straining at the leash, baring her big canines, and nearly pulling my dad over, so the GPO guy backed off, towards the dog as it happened as he must have realized that the dog didn’t want him near me and the only way he could go was towards her, so my dad moved backwards with Tara and gave them a bit of space. They knew not to come near me again though.

After a brief conversation where I stupidly gave them my name and date of birth, they asked again if they could come in. I had denied all knowledge of a pirate radio station, saying my long wire was for FM reception. Eventually, I asked them if they had a search warrant. They
looked a bit sheepish and one of them said “No, but we can get one” to which I said, “Well you’d better go and get one then if you want to come in”. Tara was still snarling and the GPO guy who had tried to get in looked back at her and said nastily under his breath “arrghh shut up!”. That really pissed me off so I said in no uncertain terms “Get off my property”. With hindsight, that was not the best thing to say as it might have provoked them to come after us again, but he was a nasty piece of work and he didn’t like my dog. According to a description I gave to Tom Lodge of the GPO men, it was the infamous Eric Gotts and Gordon Yates who had paid us a visit. Apparently, Gotts had been sent up from London to assist with taking the Merseyside pirates off air. It was Gotts who made a move to get in. My dog nearly took a chunk out of his arse.

The very next day, the GPO arrived and removed the disused telegraph pole we had attached our aerial to, they just removed the whole thing and took it away. It had been disused for about 20 years according to my dad.

Looking back, I think that Gotts and Yates thought that I was the sole station operator and as I was only a month past my 16th birthday, they may have thought it wasn’t worth nicking me.

When I gave them my date of birth one of them did say “So you are JUST 16?” and they looked at each other incredulously. We changed location for the next week and kept moving around a bit, and we never saw the GPO again. I must say the guy who we suspect was
Gordon Yates seemed ok, and he gave me some advice about harmonics, although of course I denied knowing what harmonics were or even what a radio signal was. Rodger Dee was quite amused by me saying “Harmonics? What’s harmonics?” to Yates, and he repeated it for ages afterwards.

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Albert H » Fri Jul 19, 2024 1:43 am

My first "unfriendly visit" was from the radio inspectors from the Dutch PTT. I'd built my first ever rig - a slightly modified version of the 807 two-band rig published in the December 1965 edition of Practical Wireless.

I'd reduced the gain of the microphone stage, to allow it to be fed with "line level" audio. I'd also removed the Transmit / Receive switching, and increased the values of the output inductor and the "Load" and "Tune" capacitors. I'd managed to procure a crystal that went at 1510 kHz (as I recall), and the rig gave around 12 Watts carrier. After some time, a more powerful station started up on 1510 kHz, and I couldn't get another crystal in that range of frequencies. That was when I built a VFO to drive the rig. It tuned from about 1400 kHz up to around 1640 kHz, and was surprisingly stable!

When the PTT turned up, my Father denied them access. Instead, they talked to me at the front door, and suggested that I dismantled the rig. We stayed off the air for about 10 days, but the bug had bitten, and so we fired it up again.

The second visit was less friendly than the first, and they arrived with all the right paperwork. This time, they took the rig away......

Within a month, I'd built my next one - a bit more powerful, and using an 817 bottle. This one was housed in various garden sheds around the area, and the programmes came from a "Stellaphone" tape recorder! The PTT caught up with us after some months, but we got a good run out of that rig. In those days, and probably because I was still at school, all they did was remove the transmitters. I never got prosecuted!

That was at the tail end of the 60s and into the early 70s. It was about early October 1972 that I built my first VHF FM rig!
"Why is my rig humming?"
"Because it doesn't know the words!"
;)

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by Persona Non Grata » Sat Jul 20, 2024 3:43 pm

I'd built my first ever rig - a slightly modified version of the 807 two-band rig published in the December 1965 edition of Practical Wireless.
In case anyone fancies having a go at building the rig in question its on page 484 although I'd imagine some of the components may be difficult to come by in 2024 ?

https://www.worldradiohistory.com/UK/Pr ... 965-12.pdf

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Re: Eric Arthur Gotts

Post by DW1413 » Tue Jul 23, 2024 9:57 am

Very interesting article! All of the rigs I saw/used in the 1980's looked like that ... but generally had 2 or 4 807's in the output stage. The main one we used for Station M had a crystal controlled EL84 oscillator into an 807 buffer and then four 807's in the PA. The modulation amp was separate.

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