100 TV licence dodgers are caught in Larne

TV Licensing has revealed that more than 100 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Larne alone during the first six months of 2011.

This compares to 140 in Carrickfergus, 20 in Ballycastle 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.”

She added: “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.”

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.