UKIP – TV detector vans are a hoax

Are TV detector vans just a cunning con trick? For decades it’s been claimed they trap licence cheats. In fact, they’ve never led to a single prosecution

  • Detector Vans were heavily promoted by the BBC, who claimed they can detect working TV sets
  • It has even been claimed they are almost entirely ineffective
  • BBC has avoided spelling out how many detector vans there are
  • But they have never led to a single person being punished
Under the cover of darkness, a light blue van with two huge rotating aerials fixed to its roof drives slowly down a residential street.
A camera reveals that in the back, twiddling a set of controls that might have been pinched from a Thunderbirds spaceship, sits a middle-aged man wearing a tweed jacket and flamboyant moustache.
‘Yes!’ he declares, peering conspiratorially through a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles. ‘There’s a TV set on at No 5. It’s in the front room. And they’re watching . . . Columbo!’
The camera pans out to show a team of sinister looking heavies leaping from the van. ‘If you don’t have a TV licence, it won’t take us long to find you,’ a narrator informs viewers. ‘Don’t get a fine. Get a licence!’

This famous 20-second advert aired on the BBC hundreds of times during the Seventies, becoming as embedded in contemporary culture as parka jackets, sideburns and the Bay City Rollers.

Terrified by its depiction of vans that could see through living room walls, a generation of Britons was cowed into lining up at the Post Office to buy a TV licence.

So far, so effective; yet conspiracy theorists have long maintained that the menacing TV commercial is actually a cynical and deeply misleading piece of government propaganda.
The ubiquitous TV detector van that it portrays doesn’t really exist, they claim. Indeed, the supposedly commonplace vehicles have never been widely used on Britain’s streets.
Many believe they were paraded across TV screens — and are still used in press releases — as part of a dishonest PR stunt. The chance of one driving down your street is almost nil, they allege.


‘Detector vans are a myth,’ the UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, a long-time campaigner against the licence fee, told me this week.
‘Prosecution [for not having a TV licence] depends on the accused being caught in the act of watching live broadcasts, or admitting to it. The non-existent threat of Detector Van evidence is just a means of getting suspects to incriminate themselves.’
Sceptics such as Batten point out there isn’t a single documented case in British legal history in which so-called ‘detection evidence’ from vans has been used to prosecute a licence fee evader.

This was, sheepishly, confirmed by the BBC in 2011 in response to a (hitherto unreported) Freedom of Information request.

Sceptics also wonder why the BBC has always refused to either say how many of the vehicles it owns, or to answer questions about how they work, who operates them, and where they are used.
Instead, the Corporation’s spokesmen have for decades told reporters that revealing such information ‘might be useful to people trying to evade the licence fee’.

All of which has only added to the weight of doubt regarding the very existence of the vans.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

2 Responses to “UKIP – TV detector vans are a hoax”

  1. Anonymous says:

    More lies from the bullshit BBC

  2. Anonymous says:

    More cock and ball from paedo BBC …………..

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