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Suffolk/Essex: Thousands caught watching TV without a licence

14:00 24 February 2013

TV licensing detector van

TV licensing detector van

MORE than 11,000 people were caught watching television without a licence in Suffolk and Essex in 2012.

TV Licensing has revealed more than 3,400 people were caught without a licence in Suffolk, including more than 1,400 in Ipswich, 760 in Lowestoft and 170 in Felixstowe.

In Essex, meanwhile, the figure rose to more than 8,300 people, including 280 in Braintree and 520 in Chelmsford.

The average evasion rate was 5%, meaning almost 95% of homes are correctly licensed.

Victoria Sykes, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “The data shows evasion remains at historically low levels, with the overwhelming majority of people ensuring they are correctly licensed.

“In order to be fair to the law-abiding majority who do pay for their licence, we will continue to pursue the small minority of people who do not pay.”

A colour television licence currently costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording television programmes on a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.

Mrs Sykes said if people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

She added: “We do understand some people may find it difficult to pay in one go, which is why we offer numerous ways to spread the cost.

“Payment options include a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card or a monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can be set up very quickly online or over the phone.

“We also work with a range of money advice organisations – their staff can provide useful information and payment advice to help people budget for a TV Licence.”

The figures of the survey relate to people caught between January 2011 and January 2012.

Richard Haymes, of the StepChange Debt Charity, said: “TV Licensing makes it easier for us to help clients keep within the law. We welcome the many ways to pay – this will help people on lower incomes plan and meet their TV Licensing requirements and we would ask anyone experiencing difficulty with payments to contact TV Licensing.”

11 comments

  • Another british stealth tax that should be abolished but no got to keep the old boy network at the BBC happy do like every other channel does and put adverts on and stop taxing the poor the rich dont care they can afford it much like alot of other stealth taxes that are aimed at the lower classes in society this country makes me sick

    Report this comment

    flubbermouth

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • Hardly suprising given the rubbish that is the daily output of the TV channels. I would like a refund of my licence fee!

    Report this comment

    Tractorboy

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • IT COST SO MUCH MONEY TO HAVE A TV Licence AND WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE TO PAY WHEN IT SAY Freeview THAT ITS SELF MUST BE BREAKING THE LAW SAYING FREE AND THE COST TO BUY A NEW TV AND THINGS YOU NEED FOR FOR TV LIKE THE FREEVIW BOX COST MONEY PEOPLE GETTING MORE MONEY TO GIVE OUT FOR THE BILLS SO I THINK THE TV SHOULD BE FREE WHO AGREE.

    Report this comment

    chris betts

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • 11, 000 in only two counties in one year! How many nationally? Surely the court system must be on the verge of collapse. If this level continues, at what point do the rest of us decide we are no longer going to pay as we are paying for everyone else.

    Report this comment

    Billy Knowbend

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • The figure I'd really like to see is how many people like me who don't have televisions have been harassed and sent threatening letters by TV licensing.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • i give them last years licence, and when they say to me 'do you realize this is last years licence', i reply with 'do you realize im watching last years TV, its all repeats'

    Report this comment

    observerofmany

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • It's about time given the choice of channels that we as consumers should have the right to opt out of receiving BBC, We have that choice with sky and it's channels so why should the government make us pay for the BBC.

    Report this comment

    ran 528

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • Another tax to pay another institution millions to squander hard working people's money,on repeats, overpaid staff with overpaid pensions, and paying off director general compensation £ 400,000 for two months work.

    Report this comment

    this is what we pay tax for

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • Whats with all the BBC bashing? would you people rather have the European and American model of 12-15mins of adverts every hour? I would pay the license fee just for Radio 4, 6 music and BBC4 alone. We should cherish the BBC as a national institution like the NHS not give in to the corporate pushing of a few backroom conservatives.

    Report this comment

    fuztownsend

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • It makes me laugh people on benefits spend hundreds on a 3D paid for by the tax payer opposed to paying thier TV licence and utility bills. People should have their TV's siezed like cars are with no Insurance and crushed. That would send a stark message out.

    Report this comment

    the opinion man

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • The law states that you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes, on any device, as they're being shown on TV. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and Blu-rayDVDVHS recorders. You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV - for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.

    Report this comment

    zaax

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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