Only two TV licence dodgers found guilty in Fife courts

Just two people in Fife have been found guilty in court of watching television without a licence, new statistics show.

Freedom of Information data shows that just three people appeared in Justice of the Peace courts in the kingdom in 2013/14, with only two of those found to be breaching the law.

Meanwhile, a further 1,346 people were dealt with out of court, with Fife having the third highest number of licence fee evaders in Scotland.

The data was collated by Caroline Levesque-Bartlett of Torquay, who has launched a petition in a bid to have the controversial TV licence scrapped.

With the BBC charter up for renewal soon, she claims that the levy gives the broadcaster an unfair advantage over rivals and is a burden on those who do not wish to use its services.

“I started the petition three months ago as I think the whole licence fee is offensive,” she told The Courier.

“Everybody is asked to pay even if they just want to watch Freeview.

“The Government is aware of the petition and I’m hoping to raise further awareness of it.”

Scrutiny of the licence fee has been intense recently with the BBC’s director general admitting his belief that it has just “10 years of life left in it”.

It came ahead of discussions on the renewal of the corporation’s royal charter, which determines the level of the licence fee and other terms under which the corporation operates.

However, should the fee be scrapped it is uncertain as to how the BBC would then be funded.

Only Glasgow City and North Lanarkshire saw more people dealt with out of court than Fife, according to the data from the Scottish Government.

In comparison to Fife’s tally of 1,346, just 679 people in Dundee were dealt with by means of a fixed penalty or fiscal fine.

In Perth and Kinross this dropped to 167 and in Angus 156.

The Courier approached the BBC for a comment but had received no response at time of going to press.