Excuses used to dodge TV licences

TV licence bosses today revealed some of the excuses people give them after being caught out after nabbing more than 660 offenders in Hartlepool so far this year.

Even though it is a legal requirement to own a TV licence, offenders are regularly dealt with by magistrates after being caught out by checks.

In the first eight months of 2011, more than 660 licence dodgers were caught out in Hartlepool despite repeated warnings from TV license chiefs.

While the majority of offenders are dealt with through the courts where they can face a fine of up to £1,000, some residents across the UK come up with extraordinary excuses to try and avoid paying.

They include: one woman who said her reminder letter had not arrived because her mail had become irregular following her fling with the postman; another who said the only person in the house who watched TV was the pet parakeet, and a mum who had intended to pay in her local shop but was asked to leave when her children were caught stealing sweets.

Other excuses came from a man who said he would have to sell his TV in order to pay for the licence and someone who couldn’t go and pay for one as she was allergic to the sun.

Tim Downs, TV Licensing spokesperson for the North of England, said: “Watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law. In fairness to the honest majority of people who pay the fee, we will prosecute those who try to avoid it. We would always prefer people to pay than risk a fine of up to £1,000. We offer a wide range of payment options to help spread the cost and suit people’s needs.”

A colour TV licence costs £145.50, with a charge for £49 for black and white TV sets.

For more information call 0300 7906078 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.