Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dr Who gets TV licence blame

DOCTOR Who, windy weather and baby sick have been given as excuses for dodging the TV licence fee in Manchester.But despite the desperate pleas, more than 5,700 evaders in the city were caught watching TV without a licence - an average of 27 a day - between January and July.According to TV Licensing, which has just revealed the worst excuses of 2007, one of the most creative explanations was: "I only watch Doctor Who, so I will only pay when the series is on."The top excuses given in Manchester include:`A gust of wind blew the payment cheque out of my hand. I'm not going to buy a licence as someone might find the cheque and post it for me.' `I don't actually watch TV. I just keep it for the company.' `I haven't been paying for my TV licence because I've broken my arm.' `I couldn't make my last payment as my baby was sick on my shoulder and I didn't want to go to the shop smelling of sick, because the guy I fancy works there.' Charlotte Hancock, from TV Licensing said: "These excuses may be inventive, but they don't fool our enquiry officers. Any household that watches or records programmes as they are being shown requires a licence, regardless of the programmes they watch. We can identify at the touch of a button which addresses are unlicensed."Handheld detectors TV Licensing officers monitor a database of 29 million addresses and use new handheld detectors, no bigger than a torch, to target offenders. Ms Hancock added: "Putting the blame on someone else isn't a way to avoid paying the licence fee, which could mean a trip to court and a fine of up to £1,000 - and you will still need to buy a TV licence."National top excuses include: 'My wife has her hair done twice a week and so we find it difficult to pay.''You'll have to excuse me, but I can't think straight, my girlfriend has hit me on the head with a hammer, but I thoroughly deserved it.''I haven't renewed my licence because my wife flushed it down the toilet, along with my wallet.''My husband has just spent £3,000 on this massive panoramic flat digital TV, so we can't possibly afford a licence, sorry.'A colour TV licence costs £135.50 and a black and white £45.50. Payments can be made at PayPoint outlets, direct debit, online, by phone or by post. For information call 0870 241 5590.

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