Licence crackdown nets record evaders

TELEVISION licence evaders should be worried after a record number of offenders were caught in Ipswich last year.A crackdown on people caught watching TV without a licence between 2001 and 2002 led to 654 unlicensed viewers being caught – a 16 per cent increase on the previous year.

TELEVISION licence evaders should be worried after a record number of offenders were caught in Ipswich last year.

A crackdown on people caught watching TV without a licence between 2001 and 2002 led to 654 unlicensed viewers being caught – a 16 per cent increase on the previous year.

That means that on average 54 evaders were caught in the town every month in the 12 months up to March 31.

This record breaking success in Ipswich is largely down to new research methods, more TV Licensing enquiry officers on the streets and a drive to target unlicensed addresses during peak viewing times.

Stephen Taylor, TV Licensing's Regional Manger for the south, said: "The message should be crystal clear to all those in Ipswich watching TV without a valid licence – you will be caught.

"Not only could you face a trip to court, as well as a fine of up to £1,000, and court costs of around £40, but at the end of the day you'll still have to pay for a TV licence.

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"It's no longer worth the risk."

More than 448,400 offenders were caught throughout the UK during the same period, an increase of 12 pc.

One of the highest increases in the number of people being caught came in Cambridge. From 2000 to 2001 663 evaders were traced but last year that figure was up 76 pc to 1,169.

Mr Taylor said: "There are over 15 different ways to pay for a TV Licence.

"Direct debit is the most popular and hassle-free choice. However, for those without a back account or on income related state benefits, there is Cash Easy Entry which allows you to pay manageable cash amounts on a weekly basis."

A colour television licence costs £112.