Over 20,000 Caught With Unlicensed TV

The North's TV licensing enforcement body has today revealed that more than 20,000 people were caught watching the box without a licence in Northern Ireland in 2010.

This includes more than 5,700 in Belfast, more than 1,370 in Newry, more than 1,300 in Craigavon and more than 1,140 in Dungannon.

However, they said less than 5% of people in NI do not pay their licence but noted that almost 400,000 people were caught watching TV illegally across the UK.

Deborah King TV Licensing Spokesperson, said: "It's not fair on the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland 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," she said, noting that 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.

Any 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.


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