Are we Breaking the Law more Frequently than we think?

 By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent

From speeding to stealing, avoiding travel fares to having sex in public – Brits are breaking the law on a regular basis, new research reveals.

The average person breaks 17 laws a year and commits at least one crime every month, some without even knowing it. Speeding is the number one offence but having sex in public ranked closely behind with 43 per cent of respondents admitting to outdoor hanky panky.

But despite this apparent lawlessness,  83 per cent of the 2,000 UK adults polled by TV channel Alibi, to mark the launch of new crime drama Crossing Lines, think we are a nation of law-abiding citizens.The poll revealed that many people were unaware of the law surrounding a variety of issues and behaviour.

Over 70 per cent didn’t know that it is illegal to take a child out of school for a holiday without permission and over half believe buying a cheaper or incorrect ticket for a train journey isn’t a crime and a brazen 56 per cent think having sex in a public space isn’t against the law.

But even after learning these actions were crimes, a quarter of Brits said they wouldn’t feel guilty about committing them.

We’re most likely to be lax about the law when we’re abroad, as nearly a fifth of respondents confessed they’re more likely to commit a crime while overseas.

Six out of ten people said they would lie or provide a false alibi for a loved one if they believed it to be a minor offence, while a third would lie even if they knew the crime was serious.

And one in ten claim they would flee the country in order to escape arrest if they had committed a crime they could go to jail for.

The survey also shows that one in three Brits have illegally downloaded music, films or TV shows at least once in their lives, with 15 per cent revealing they do so regularly.

Alibi spokesman Adrian Wills said: “Clearly as a nation we’re not averse to a bit of law breaking, although perhaps we’re not as up to speed as we should be about what is and isn’t legal.

“And as in Alibi’s new series Crossing Lines, quite a few of us would be happy to adopt extreme measures if we needed to stay under the radar.”

Crossing Lines premieres on Alibi at 9pm tonight (Tues)

The top ten laws the British public admit to having broken at least once are: 
1. Speeding (62 per cent)
2. Having sex in a public space (43 per cent)
3. Dropping litter (35 per cent)
4. Illegally downloading music or films/TV (33 per cent)
5. Stealing (33 per cent)
6. Pilfering hotel room goods (30 per cent)
7. Avoiding a travel fare (26 per cent)
8. Taking recreational drugs (25 per cent)
9. Parking on double yellow lines (24 per cent)
10. Texting/using mobile without hands-free when driving (17 per cent)

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