Scale of capital’s TV licence evasion revealed

Residents in London are evading the TV licence fee because they do not believe they will be caught, it has been claimed.

The allegation came as TV Licensing revealed details of which London boroughs housed the highest number of residents watching television without paying the annual fee.

Over 28,000 evaders were discovered across London’s 32 boroughs, but it was good news for Kingston, which has amongst the lowest rates of evasion in the capital.

Just 356 evaders were caught in the borough over the past 12 months, putting Kingston in the bottom 10 for TV Licence evasion in London.


Enfield is the worst borough in London for TV Licence evasion, closely followed by Croydon, and Barking & Dagenham. Together, these boroughs account for more than 20 per cent of all evaders caught in London between July 2016 and July this year.

And 15 per cent of evaders in London – roughly 4,200 residents – think they can’t be visited by a TV Licensing enquiry officer because of where they live.

One London officer, who did not wish to be named, believes those living in serviced accommodation do not think they can be detected.

“A lot of Londoners reside in access controlled addresses, such as buildings with a concierge or a private lobby – but that’s no reason for these residents to think we can’t visit them,” he said.

“Each year we visit every London borough, and by arranging access to controlled addresses we can be sure to visit all of the addresses in London we need to.

“We find the staff in the concierges, or management companies responsible for these sites, to be of great assistance in arranging visits for us.”

The TV Licence costs £147 annually. Viewing television without one risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.