110 TV licence evaders

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TV Licensing has revealed that more than 110 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Larne during the first six months of 2012.

They are among more than 8,300 people caught across Northern Ireland – a five per cent minority.

Deborah King, TV Licensing spokesperson, said evasion is unfair to the 95 per cent who do pay.

She warned that evaders risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

“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 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, said:

“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. TV Licensing makes the process of purchasing a licence as easy as possible, with many ways to pay and an informative website helps to ensure that people are correctly licensed. We would urge anyone having trouble with payments to contact TV Licensing so they can 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.