Belfast Telegraph

Affair with postman blamed for not having TV licence - and other silly excuses

By Claire McNeilly

"You'll have to excuse me but I can't think straight as my girlfriend has hit me on the head with a hammer; but I thoroughly deserved it."

That was the reason given by one man after he was caught watching television without a valid licence.

And it was voted the most bizarre excuse in the last five years by 26% of Belfast Telegraph readers who recently participated in an online poll.

The humorous compilation comes after it emerged that 10,000 people in Northern Ireland have already been caught this year without a licence. Deborah King, TV Licensing spokeswoman for Northern Ireland, said that 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," she said.

"We would always prefer people to pay than risk a fine of up to £1,000."

A colour TV licence costs £145.50, while a black and white licence will set you back £49.

The top three reasons given by licence fee evaders this year are:

  • "Since I had a bit of a fling with the postman I haven't been receiving my mail, so I didn't get my TV licence reminder."
  • "No-one watches the TV apart from the parakeet. It calms him down and stops him ripping out his feathers."
  • "I went to the PayPoint to pay for my licence, but I had to leave before I could pay because my kids were stealing sweets and I had to get them out fast."

Kevin Higgins, head of Policy Advice NI, said the TV licence should be treated as essential expenditure when drawing up a household budget.

"We know that some people find managing their finances challenging so it's important they have access to free, independent advice on how to budget and spread the cost of household bills," said Mr Higgins.

It is a legal requirement to be covered with a valid TV licence if you are watching or recording television at the time it is broadcast.

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