The summer season heralds TV Licensing's annual persecution of another generally law-abiding minority - residential boat owners.
Next week, mark our words, it will be members of the camping and caravanning community bearing the brunt of TV Licensing's media offensive. Or should that be TV Licensing's offensive media?
According to TV Licensing PR harlot Martin Dyan, the paramilitary wing of the BBC doesn't want boat people to get that "sinking feeling" if they're caught watching TV programmes without a valid TV licence. Boom boom. Basil Brush would be proud.
The Fishburn PR flunky explains: "We know an increasing number of people are choosing an alternative lifestyle afloat with an estimated 15,000 houseboat owners in the UK including many choosing Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation or the River Stort.
"It is important they understand the law when it comes to watching or recording TV programmes."
Dyan goes on to remind boat owners of the (extremely unlikely) penalty for the heinous crime of TV licence evasion - a maximum fine of £1,000.
The article, which is clearly cut and paste straight from the Fishburn mouth wand, humorously warns about the possibility of a TV Licensing "enquiry officer" knocking at a person's porthole (read about TV Licensing goon Gary Catterick, who kind of did the same).
A TV licence is required for any property where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes. In the case of residential boat owners, if the boat was their primary residence, and they intended to receive TV programmes there, then legally speaking it would require a TV licence.
If, however, the boat was not the person's primary residence, then the TV licence of their primary residence would cover the reception of TV programmes on portable equipment powered by its own internal battery (e.g. an unplugged laptop, tablet or similar). In these circumstances they would not require an additional TV licence for the boat.
Of course the notion that TV Licensing is stalking the towpaths of Britain on the off-chance of catching boat-borne TV licence evaders is fanciful in the extreme. You just need to see how ineffective TV Licensing is when making enquiries at static land-borne addresses.
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