New figures reveal 70pc of court cases are to prosecute TV licence dodgers
NEARLY 70 per cent of cases at magistrates’ court in Warwickshire are to prosecute TV licence dodgers.
New figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that of the 34,438 who appeared before magistrates in Warwickshire in 2016, 24,062 (69.9 per cent) were for installing or using a TV receiver without a licence.
This was the second highest number of cases in England and Wales behind only Cleveland (28,984).
Of those proceeded against last year at the county’s two justice centres in Nuneaton and Leamington, 89 per cent pleaded guilty or were found guilty.
In comparison, just 2.3 per cent of people taken to the magistrates’ courts in the West Midlands - including Coventry - were for failing to have a TV licence.
Individual courts may have much higher levels of TV licence proceedings, which may be down to cases from the local area being block listed at one court.
The MoJ figures, released following a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that across courts in England and Wales, one in eight cases heard at magistrates’ courts in 2016 was for installing or using a TV receiver without a licence.
Overall, 1.46 million people appeared before magistrates last year, with 11.8 per cent of these for not having a TV licence - a total of 171,628 cases.
Most of those charged either pleaded guilty or were found guilty (88 per cent).
The average fine for those convicted, where TV licence evasion was the principal offence, was £188.35 in England and £123.40 in Wales.
The statistics show that women are more likely to be proceeded against than men for installing or using a TV receiver without a licence - 71 per cent of cases in England and Wales in 2016 involved a woman.
The number of people proceeded against has fallen in recent years, from a peak of 193,032 proceedings in 2012.
The number of proceedings in 2016 was the lowest since 170,636 in 2011.