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TV licence refuseniks account for more than 10 per cent of UK court cases

Over 10 per cent of court cases are related to UK citizens refusing to pay their TV licence. 

Nearly 3,500 people a week (over 180,000 in total) were taken to court for refusing or failing to pay TV Licensing in 2012, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice. 

In total, magistrates handled a total of 1.48 million cases last year, meaning that TV licence offenses make up around 12 per cent of all court cases. 

Check out my gavel pit: Over 150,000 Britons feel the legal wrath of TV Licensing

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to the TV License and why you need oneThe data, as reported by City AM, was published following a parliamentary question tabled by Lord John Laird. 

The figures reveal that two thirds of all those prosecuted were women, who were more likely to be at home when TV License inspectors called. In total 155,000 prosecutions resulted in convictions, which can lead to fines of up to £1,000. The TV licence for a colour TV costs £145.50 a year and funds the BBC’s TV channels. 

It’s not yet known how many customers tried to get out of paying by claiming to only watch catch-up TV through services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD. 

Technically, if you only watch catch-up TV online then you don’t need a license. In order to do that you have to have filled in a declaration form stating that you don’t need a license. In this case, TV Licensing should have updated its records and the inspectors would not have come calling. 

The only other option is to join the 13,000 who watch black and white TV and pay £49 a year instead.  

Image: martinbowling/Flickr

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