Thousands in court every week for not having a TV licence
PUBLISHED March 20, 2012
One in 10 magistrates' court hearings is now taken up with the offence, which appears more than any other crime.
A total of 140,000 people were convicted of avoiding the licence fee last year, giving them a criminal record and in some cases, those who failed to pay the fine were handed a prison sentence.
But magistrates said the rising number of cases should be dealt with by other means over concerns that evaders were being given disproportionate sentences.
A spokesman for the Magistrates' Association told the Daily Mail: "For almost 20 years we have been calling for changes in the law so that non-payment of TV licences is decriminalised.
"It had been hoped that perhaps a change might be brought about when the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting was completed but as yet there are no plans for the BBC to move to a subscription."