Crime: Licence-evaders' festive excuses

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The Independent Online
More than 10,000 television licence-evaders were caught in a two-week Christmas blitz, TV Licensing said yesterday.

Inquiry officers who worked over the festive period were kept amused by some of the excuses given by people caught without licences. One licence- dodger claimed she had asked Father Christmas for a television licence, but he hadn't delivered. Another officer visited a house one evening when the curtains were open and a television set was clearly visible. The occupier strongly denied owning a set, saying the officer has mistaken his Christmas tree lights for a television.

Another householder claimed his set was not in use but the enquiry officer noticed it was still warm. He explained his wife had set the turkey there to "rest" before serving.

In all, 10,021 licence evaders were caught in the fortnight's crackdown.

TV Licensing warned there would be further New Year blitzes across the country. Anyone caught without a licence risks a fine of up to pounds 1,000.

Mick Hill, director of TV Licensing, said: "We are delighted with the success of our Christmas campaign. However, we would prefer not to have to take anyone to court, and with so many easy ways to pay for a TV licence, such as monthly payments by direct debit, there should really be no need."