Sidney Students Face TV Fines

Students at Sidney have been caught watching TV without a license and could face court and a fine of up to £1,000.

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Students from Sidney could face court and a £1,000 fine for watching TV without a licence.

In an email sent to students last week, Sidney Sussex’s Domestic Bursar Keith Willox said he had received word from TV Licensing Enforcement that they intended to prosecute several students who’d been caught watching TV without a licence.

The students, who live in houses on Portugal Street and Park Parade, could now face prosecution and a “fine of up to £1,000 plus legal costs for each evasion”, Willox said.

Willox added that students had: “not responded to previous letters from TV Licensing”, and said: “There may be additional summons to follow for other College properties.”

The college had originally proposed to buy TV licences, which cost £145.50, for the properties involved to avoid any further complications.

But in a later email Willox said: “Following discussions with the JCR and MCR it has been agreed to withdraw the  proposal that the College purchase a licence for those properties that have received letters regarding TV Licence Evasion.”

“Residents in the properties that have received such letters will deal with the issue on a personal basis.”

Enforcers crack down on naughty Sidney students

TV Licensing Enforcement remained tightlipped about what penalties the properties faced. In a statement they said: “We can’t discuss the licensing status of a property with anybody but the resident, except if they give permission.”

Sidney’s JCR President Liam Agate was keen to stress that court was an unlikely option, saying: “Some college properties received strongly worded reminders to purchase licences if required, as is standard procedure.

“After some fact-finding and amicable discussions amongst the College, JCR and MCR, it was decided that the matter would be left to the indivdual students to purchase TV Licences for rooms, if required, or write to the TV Licence authority to inform them if they do not require one.”

Students are required to purchase a TV licence for any device they watch live TV on, including their laptops.

Sidney student Jonny Singer told The Tab: “Almost everyone watches iPlayer on their laptops, and even outside college I don’t think anyone really thinks they’ll get caught, it’s such a non-issue to most people until someone tries to fine you.”

A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “TV Licensing makes every effort to ensure students understand the law on when a licence is need for watching or recording TV, and that they know where to find out more. For more information, please visit”