09:56 24 August 2013
Based on figures, the Magistrates have handled 1.48million cases last year, 12per cent of which represent TV licencing offences. In 2012, there were more than 18,000 people who were accused of watching television without a valid licence. This figure means that there are about 3,500 people appearing in court every week for TV license evasion.
Licences, which cost £145.50 (for coloured TV sets) and £49 (black and white TV sets) are mandatory in any households regardless of renter’s or homeowner employment status as long as they watch or record programmes as they are being aired by a channel.
Unlike non-payment for utility bills, non-payment of TV licence is considered a criminal offence. Offenders are fined a maximum of £1,000. Anybody who refuses to pay or unable to pay can end up in prison.
As this offence take more than 10per cent in UK court cases, there are now growing calls for TV licensing issues to be dealt with as civil prosecutions. This way, courts can focus more on serious matters.
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