Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

TV licence fee excuses revealed

TV Licensing said more than 400,000 people were caught last year watching TV without a licence

A homeowner tried to wriggle out of paying their TV licence fee by claiming they merely used the glow from the set as a lamp to help them read.

Another said they did not think they needed a licence because their pet corgi was said to be related to one of the Queen's dogs.

They are among the excuses trotted out after viewers were found to have TV sets without having paid the annual fee.

They were revealed by officials from TV Licensing as they launched a drive to encourage more people to pay up.

Other excuses included being unable to get to the shops because the Olympic torch relay had made the area too busy, while another person who was caught said they were unable to pay as they had been barred from their local outlet after being caught shoplifting.

Another is said to have claimed they did not bother to buy one because they had stolen the TV set.

More than 400,000 people were caught last year watching TV without a licence.

Now to highlight the issue, TV Licensing has teamed up with a Bafta-winning animator to bring some of the excuses to life for a short-film on YouTube.

Spokesman Stephen Farmer said: "Some of the excuses are simply hilarious whilst others show a great deal of imagination and creativity, but being caught without a valid TV licence is a criminal offence and no laughing matter.

"Joking and wacky excuses apart, it's breaking the law to watch live television without a licence so anybody doing this risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."

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