90 TV licence evaders in Ballymoney and Moyle

TV Licensing revealed that more than 90* people were caught watching TV without a licence in Ballymoney and Moyle during the first six months of 2011.

This compares to more than 120 in Antrim, 100 in Larne and 240 in Ballymena.

They are among almost 197,000 people caught across the UK 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: “While the vast majority of people in the UK pay their licence fee, to be fair to those who pay, we have to be firm with those who try to get away without paying. We take TV Licence evasion very seriously and we will not hesitate to prosecute if people continue to break the law.

“We would always prefer people to buy a TV Licence than risk prosecution and give people every opportunity to pay. However, 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.

”TV Licensing launched a new advertising campaign in May to remind people about the different ways to pay for their licence. Part two of the “Whatever’s easiest for you” ad trails will air on BBC channels for the first time this Saturday (23 July), highlighting the alternative options to paying all at once.”

Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy, Advice NI, said: “We welcome TV Licensing’s efforts to make it as easy as possible for people to manage payment of the licence fee like other household bills. The website provides all the details people need to make an informed decision about which choice of payment scheme will work best for them, but we’d urge anyone having trouble with payments to give TV Licensing a call so they provide additional advice.”

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.