Hundreds of people in Lincoln were caught watching TV without a licence last year, new figures from TV Licensing revealed.
930 people did not pay the annual £145.50 fee in the city in 2010. In the first six months of 2010, 469 people in Lincoln were caught watching TV without a licence.
The estimated evasion rate remains at a low of just over five per cent, meaning that almost 95 per cent of properties are correctly licensed.
A colour TV Licence is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, whether they are using a TV set or a computer.
Ian Fannon, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “It’s not fair on the vast majority of people who pay their licence fee for some people to watch TV without paying.
“We try to give people every chance to get on the right side of the law, but ultimately if they fail to pay, we will take action.
“We take TV Licence evasion very seriously, and any householder or business caught watching TV without a licence can face a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
More than 50,000 were caught in Greater London, more than 21,000 in Glasgow and more than 10,400 in Birmingham.
Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham each had under 10,000 evaders caught, while Hull, Leeds and Bristol had each under 5,000 evaders.
Weird reasons for not paying
Alongside the usual attempts to blame relatives or animals, bizarre logic and a lack of common sense rule the list of excuses given to TV Licensing’s this year.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, licence dodgers from across the UK have been particularly inventive in explaining their reasons for not purchasing a TV Licence, despite needing one.
Some of the absurd pretexts given by licence fee evaders this year included:
No deal: “I’ve got no licence because when I called TV Licensing they refused to barter with me. Everything should be up for negotiation.”
Don’t work with animals: “My house was invaded by a squirrel which weed on my TV, so now it doesn’t work properly.”
Downright dim: “I don’t watch the television; I just use it as a light in the dark.”
Enquiry officers faced an array of unashamed tales and delaying tactics, with one person even declaring: “Can you call back later? I want to finish watching the end of this TV programme.”