Must I sell my hamster to watch TV?

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

TV Licensing has published a list of people’s bizarre excuses for dodging the licence fee, including: “Why would I need a TV licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I’ve got it.”

One dodger claimed they didn’t need to pay because their pet Corgi was related to the Queen’s dog.

Another said: “The only way I can afford to pay for my TV licence is if I sell my hamster – is that what you want me to do?”

The top 12 excuses from the last year included a desperate claim from one person that they had “received a lethal injection” while another gloomy response was “knowing my luck I will be dead in six months and not get value for money”.

TV Licensing says with more than 320 people caught watching TV without a licence in Spalding last year – and more than 400,000 across the UK – it’s not surprising a few excuses test the laws of probability.

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman for East Anglia, 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.”

The current cost of a year’s colour TV licence is £145.50 – dodgers from South Holland have recently had to shell out more than double that, £310 in fines, costs and victim surcharges.

The top three excuses – featuring the claims about the stolen TV, the lethal injection and one about a slimmer who spent her TV licence cash on new clothes – have been animated by BAFTA winning film duo Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson.

You can watch the films by visiting www.youtube.co.uk/tvlicensing.