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Communications Act 2003

Section 366: Powers to enforce TV licensing

769.This section sets out procedures for the issue and use of search warrants for the purpose of investigating offences under section 363. Subsections (1) and (2) provide that a justice of the peace in England or Wales, a sheriff in Scotland, or a lay magistrate in Northern Ireland, may grant a search warrant to one or more persons authorised by the BBC or OFCOM where he is satisfied by information provided under oath that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting (i) that an offence under section 363 has been or is being committed; (ii) that evidence related to such an offence is likely to be on premises or in any vehicle specified in the warrant; and (iii) that one or more of the conditions set out in subsection (3) are satisfied. Those conditions are: that it is impracticable to communicate with any person who may grant entry to the relevant premises or vehicle; that there is no one with whom it is practicable to communicate who is entitled to grant access to the evidence; that entry will not be granted unless a warrant is produced; or that the purpose of the search may be frustrated or seriously prejudiced unless carried out immediately on arrival at the relevant premises or vehicle.

  • *vehicle is defined in subsection (10) as including any vessel, aircraft or hovercraft.

770.A warrant granted under this section will be valid for one month after the day of grant. It may grant powers to enter and search specified premises or vehicles and to examine and test any television receiver found there. A warrant issued to a person authorised by OFCOM may only be used to investigate breaches of TV licence conditions relating to radio interference. Persons acting under a warrant may use reasonable force in the exercise of these powers.

771.Subsection (7) imposes a duty on any person who is on the premises specified in the warrant, or who is in, in charge of, or present at the vehicle specified in the warrant, to provide any assistance necessary to enable any person acting under the warrant to examine or test any television receiver found there.

772.Subsection (8) makes it an offence intentionally to obstruct the exercise of any powers granted under a warrant under this section or to fail (without reasonable excuse) to provide any assistance required under subsection (7). A person guilty of such an offence is liable to a fine.

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