TV Licensing has revealed the worst excuses given in 2007 for not having a TV licence ... and it isn't good news for those closest to you.

Contrary to the belief that families should stick together, when it comes to passing the buck, TV licence fee evaders are only too quick to drop their own families in it.

Inventive evaders across the country seem determined to put the blame on their nearest and dearest, and the West Midlands is no exception with people displaying their creativity when enquiry officers come calling.

One of the most inventive excuses heard in the Midlands, which made it to the national top ten was: "My husband has just spent #3,000 on this massive panoramic flat digital TV so we can't possibly afford a TV licence, sorry."

However despite the innovative and often spurious excuses given by licence fee evaders, new figures show that over 6,000 people were caught in Birmingham watching TV without a licence in the first seven months of 2007.

The top excuses given to TV Licensing's enquiry officers by licence fee evaders in the Midlands included:

"I no longer require a licence as lightening recently struck my television and it has not worked since."

"My husband has just left me for another man, so I haven't got around to getting a licence."

"I only have a small TV so why should I pay?"

"I run a takeaway and don't finish work until 1am. There's nothing on that time of the morning so it's not worth paying for a licence."

John Robinson, Regional Manager for the Midlands, said: "These excuses may be inventive but they don't fool our team of enquiry officers. Putting the blame on someone else isn't a way to avoid paying the licence fee which could mean you risk a trip to court and a trip of up to #1,000  - and you will still need to buy a TV licence if you need one.

"Any household that watches or records television programmes as they are being shown requires a TV licence, regardless of the programmes they watch. Using our database of over 29 million addresses, we can identify at the touch of a button which addresses are unlicensed. With the help of our new handheld detectors, the message to the minority who do try to avoid paying is clear - if you are watching TV without a licence, expect a knock on the door."

National top ten excuses

"My wife has her hair done twice a week and so we find it difficult to pay"

"You'll have to excuse me but I can't think straight, my girlfriend has hit me on the head with a hammer, but I thoroughly deserved it"

"My granny's 77, she doesn't live here but can I get her free licence as she hasn't got a TV?"

"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"

"I haven't renewed my licence because my wife flushed it down the toilet, along with my wallet"

"I can't use my [savings] card because my husband's a chef and I have used it to scrub the pans. Plastic cards are the best things for getting dirty pans clean"

"Only the children watch the TV, do you get a child discount?"

"I haven't renewed my licence because I don't have time to watch TV. I'm too busy having vigorous sex with my wife."

"That's not a TV, that's an ornament; my mother gave it to me."
"What's that showing on the ornament?"

"My husband has just spent #3,000 on this massive panoramic flat digital TV so we can't possibly afford a TV licence, sorry."