310 caught without TV licence in 2010

TV Licensing has revealed that more than 310 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Ballymoney and Moyle in 2010.

This compares to more than 320 in Antrim, more than 500 in Ballymena and more than 470 in Newtownabbey.

There were more than 20,000 people caught watching TV illegally across Northern Ireland and almost 400,000 across the UK. 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: “It’s not fair on the vast majority of people in the Ballymoney area who pay their licence fee for some people to watch TV without paying. We try to give people every chance to get on the right side of the law, but ultimately if they fail to pay, we will take action.

“We take TV Licence evasion very seriously, and any householder or business caught watching TV without a licence can face a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

“We do understand that 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 monthly Direct Debit, which can be set up very quickly online, and a weekly or monthly cash payment plan.”

Did you know?

A colour TV Licence 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.

TV Licensing has over 30 million UK addresses on its database and can tell at the click of a button which addresses are unlicensed.

An unlicensed address will receive a number of reminder letters and possibly a phone call before a visit from an enquiry officer is scheduled – but if someone is then caught watching TV illegally, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Detector vans and handheld detectors can be used by enquiry officers to check if an unlicensed property is watching TV illegally, but the database is the main enforcement tool.

People can start paying their licence fee within minutes by visiting www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or by calling 0300 790 6112. Direct Debit is the most popular payment method, chosen by 69% of payers. Over 2 million people paid via our website in 2009/10, with over 1 million payers receiving an e-licence rather than a paper licence in the post. TV Licensing’s cash schemes are also popular, with 35,000 people even paying by text message.