'The TV helps my goldfish sleep at night', claims licence dodger

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That's one of the many bizarre reasons that have been given to officials over the last 12 months for failing to pay a TV licence fee.

The fishkeeper, from Plymouth said: "I have a Samsung 60in curved TV which I only use at night. I put the goldfish bowl in front of it at night and have found this helps the fish get to sleep."

Another pet owner from Stourport said that their pet turtle, Betty, turned 80 in December, and they were under the impression that they didn't have to pay for one if there was an occupant in the household who was over 75.

Less aquatic pet-related reasons included: 

"Yes, the TV is on but I don't watch it. It's only on for my parrot, Captain Jack Sparrow, who is learning the theme tune to Bargain Hunt."

(Speaking through a glass door) "Yes, I have a TV but the dog won't let me come to the door to talk to you."

"My cat is in labour so I don't have time to talk to you." 

Other weird and wonderful excuses included being abducted by aliens, a letter from the Queen making the owner exempt (unfortunately the letter had been misplaced), and the fact that the TV was not a TV at all, but actually a microwave! 

The best (or worst!) excuses have been made into short animations by students across the UK, which can be viewed on YouTube. There are prizes for the best animations, with one prize being awarded to the film with the most 'likes' on YouTube, and one prize awarded by a panel of expert judges. Voting ends on March 4, 2016 at 5pm.

To see the videos go to the TV Licensing YouTube channel.