75,000 Scots caught without TV licence

NEARLY 75,000 Scots have been caught watching television without a licence in the past year, according to figures released yesterday.

Licensing chiefs caught the equivalent of more than 200 people a day as part of a crackdown on people who refused to pay the 135.50 fee.

A total of 20,390 licence dodgers were caught in Glasgow, making it the worst blackspot in Scotland and second only to London in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh, with 7,071 dodgers, came sixth in the UK while 3,323 were caught in Aberdeen.

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Towns such as Falkirk and Airdrie also climbed the league of shame, with increasing numbers of viewers risking a 1,000 fine or court action.

Viewers who were caught came out with the usual string of excuses.

One man in Airdrie claimed he was exempt from paying up because he was 37th in line to the throne, while a viewer in Dunfermline said he should not have to pay because he only watched Australian soaps. A man in Paisley told enforcers who called at his home that he was tiling the bathroom and did not live in the house, even though he answered the door in his boxer shorts.

Fergus Reid, a spokesman for TV Licensing said: "

We are sending a clear warning to anyone who thinks they can get away without paying for a TV licence.

"There really is no excuse for breaking the law. Some people are willing to take that risk and so our work continues to ensure everyone is aware of the licensing requirements and the consequences if they try to avoid paying."

Licensing bosses now use a hi-tech database of more than 28 million addresses that lets them see unlicensed premises at the touch of a button. They also use detector vans to spot who is watching TV illegally.