Over 120 caught with no TV licence

TV Licensing today revealed that more than 120 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Banbridge & Dromore during the first six months of 2012.

This compares to more than 550 in Newry, 260 in Lisburn and 240 in Armagh.

These evaders are among more than 8,300 people caught across Northern Ireland during the first half of this year. The average evasion rate remains at a low of just over five per cent, meaning that almost 95 per cent of properties are correctly licensed.

Deborah King, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “Today’s figures paint a very positive picture as the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland continue to pay their licence fee. Unfortunately, a minority of people do not pay for their licence, which is unfair to the law-abiding majority who do pay.

“If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. We do understand some people may find it difficult to pay their licence fee in one go, which is why we offer numerous ways to spread the cost, including a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card and monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can all be set up very quickly online or over the phone. We also work with a range of money advice organisations who can provide useful information and payment advice to help people budget for a TV Licence.”

Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy for Advice NI, added, “These are difficult times as many households struggle to cope with the recession, welfare reform and rising household bills. Advice NI is at the forefront in trying to help people in financial difficulties draw up a budget to enable them to meet household bills and expenses.!

A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment. Anyone watching TV illegally risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Further information on how and where to pay the licence fee can be found on the TV Licensing website.