The true story of the Welsh sub-postmaster behind new ITV Drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office

  • ITV Wales Journalist Ian Lang reports

A sub-postmaster from Wales at the heart of the Post Office scandal says he "won't stop" his fight any time soon.

Alan Bates worked at a post office in Llandudno and is portrayed by Toby Jones in the new ITV Drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office.

Although he was never accused of theft like many others, he was dismissed from his job after raising concerns about the Horizon system.

He said: "They terminated my contract on obscure clauses whereby they could get rid of me, give me three months notice, but without giving a reason."

Alan Bates is portrayed by Toby Jones in new ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office. Credit: ITV

For 20 years he's campaigned for people to hear the truth about what happened.

Now he says the drama is "bringing it home to a far wider audience".

He added: "The thing about the drama is you can't really squash 20 year's worth of campaigning into a few hours of filming, but I think it does manage to give a feel for that.

"I doubt if there'll be a dry eye in the house."

He hopes it will "raise concerns about the faith in technology and how much you can rely on it".

The Post Office scandal was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history.

Since 1999, more than 700 sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted for theft, false accounting, and fraud, because of a faulty accounting software called Horizon.

Postmasters were asked to hand over their own money to cover the discrepancies.

It wasn't until 2019 that the Post Office acknowledged the problems with the Horizon system and prosecutions began to be overturned.

A public inquiry into the scandal began in 2021.

It was due to be completed by August 2022 but it is still ongoing.

Alan Bates says his fight "isn't over yet", as the inquiry is set "to take another year or two".

He says campaigners' priority is to get money for the real victims.

"They have destroyed thousands of lives and families. They've ruined God knows how many people.

"They've got away with it so far. And we've got to keep after them. We have to bring them to account.

"We're not going away. None of us are going away on this. We're all going to keep fighting until it happens."

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