HC Deb 12 March 1996 vol 273 cc553-4W
Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what powers exists to confiscate the television set from a household where the licence has not been paid and where the owner of the set refuses, or is unable to pay; and if she will make a statement. [19878]

Mr. Sproat

The only penalty available for television licence fee evasion under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, as amended, is a fine of up to £1,000. Non-payment can lead to the seizure of goods which may be sold to realise the value of the fine, but there is no power for the courts to order seizure of specific goods. In addition, following conviction, the courts in England and Wales have the power to order forfeiture of any property in an offender's possession which was used or was intended to be used in the commission of an offence, irrespective of whether the offender is dealt with in any other way. In making the order, however, the court must have regard to the value of the property and the effects, financial or other, on the offender. We are unaware of any licence evasion cases in which the courts have ordered forfeiture of a TV set.

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