MORE than 360 people in Eastbourne were caught watching television without a licence this year.
The licence evaders were caught between January and October in the BN20, BN21, BN22 and BN23 postcode areas.
The figures have been revealed this week by TV Licensing, which also said there were a host of implausible excuses given for not having a licence.
Ian Fannon, TV Licensing spokesperson for the South East, said, “Alongside the usual attempts to blame relatives or animals, bizarre logic and a lack of common sense rule the list of excuses proffered to TV Licensing’s enquiry officers 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 ‘I’ve got no licence because when I called TV Licensing they refused to barter with me. Everything should be up for negotiation’, ‘My house was invaded by a squirrel which weed on my TV, so now it doesn’t work properly’ and ‘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’.
“No matter how creative people get with their excuses, watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law.
“In fairness to those who pay the fee, we will prosecute those who try to avoid it, including the likes of the gentleman who refused to buy a licence unless we bartered with him.
“He was found guilty and fined by unimpressed magistrates.
“We’re effective at catching evaders, but we would always rather people pay than risk a fine of up to £1,000.
“To help those that may find it difficult to pay in one go, we offer a range of payment options to help spread the cost – all of which can be set up quickly and easily online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk or by phone if you prefer.”
Anyone in doubt about when a TV Licence is or isn’t needed can check by visiting www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or calling 0300 790 6112.