Brit TV licence dodgers would go to any lengths to get out of paying for a licence, and some have even been revealed to go to the extent of using their pets and children as excuses for non-payment.
TV Licensing, which collects the 142.50 pounds annual fee, has compiled a list of the worst defences offered by the 280,000 people caught using a television without a licence this year.
AdvertisementAmong the excuses was a TV owner who claimed that he only got the set so that his pet dog could watch television.
"My dog watches it while I'm at work to keep him company - not me," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Another, caught red-handed, said: "The subtitles on my TV are set to French so I'm not paying a UK tax for something I can't read."
Other viewers blamed financial hardship for not getting a licence, with one man pleading: "My wife has her hair done twice a week, so we find it difficult to pay."
Matrimonial problems provided inspiration for another man's excuse, who claimed: "I haven't renewed my licence because my wife flushed it down the toilet, along with my wallet."
TV Licensing inspectors have become more successful in their attempts to identify evaders, helped by new hand-held devices that beep if an operating TV is within 29ft.
The gadgets represent a vast technological leap from the detector vans, which used to patrol streets with their unwieldy antennae.
For some of those caught in the most recent offensive, new technology was cited as their reason for not buying a licence.
"My husband has just spent 3,000 pounds on this massive flatscreen digital TV so we can't possibly afford a licence," one woman told officials.
In other cases, a woman blamed the non-payment on her baby being sick, while another blamed it on an animal.
"I couldn't make my last payment as my baby was sick on my shoulder and I didn't want to go to the shop smelling of sick because the guy I fancy works there," she said.
In another far-fetched claim, a viewer said: "I have not been making payments because a baby magpie flew in to my house and I have had to stay in to feed it."
"No matter how creative these excuses, people are breaking the law and risk prosecution and a fine of up to 1,000 pounds," TV Licensing spokesman Jon Shaw said.
"We recognise some people may be struggling to pay and in this case we urge them to contact us so we can help them.
"One favourite excuse was the man who said he forgot to pay as his girlfriend had hit him over the head with a hammer.
"Others include the viewer who said he had an Asbo so couldn't go into the village to pay, and one who said, 'I can't afford it. I have to pay my subscription for cable TV'," he added.
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