“I’ve just escaped from jail. I’m due to do another three years, can you come back then?”
This is just one of the many ridiculous and flawed real-life excuses given to TV Licensing by people in Wigan caught watching TV or BBC iPlayer without a licence over the past year.
Around 94 per cent of homes across the UK are correctly licensed, but a small minority of people continue to offer TV Licensing Enquiry Officers flimsy excuses as to why they don’t have a licence when caught evading.
Top excuses in the area ranged from: “It’s only for the dog, it stops him howling when I’m out – I put it straight off when I come back in as there’s nowt on” to “I don’t need a TV licence, I have a shotgun.”
Dozens of tenuous excuses were collected from towns and hamlets across the UK. A woman from Wigan said: “I’m just looking after the goldfish and it can’t remember what it was watching on TV.”
A man from the borough said: “I couldn’t get to the shop to pay as I’ve been constipated so missed a few payments.”
Matthew Thompson, TV Licensing spokesperson in the North, said: “We make every effort to find evaders and although excuses we hear can be ingenious, those we catch still need to buy a licence.
“We offer help to those struggling to buy and would much rather people buy a TV Licence in small weekly or monthly instalments, than face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
“A licence is needed not jut for watching and recording live television but for watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer.”