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Record numbers of TV licence dodgers

PUBLISHED: 21:23 29 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

RECORD numbers of TV licence dodgers in Ipswich are today facing prosecution, with a promise of more to come.

New figures show that 119 people were caught red handed in the town last month watching TV without a licence.

RECORD numbers of TV licence dodgers in Ipswich are today facing prosecution, with a promise of more to come.

New figures show that 119 people were caught red handed in the town last month watching TV without a licence.

This is more than six times the number who were caught during the same month last year.

And today others who cheat the system were warned it was only a matter of time before they would be caught.

During the past six months almost 500 licence dodgers have been caught in Ipswich alone, after a recruitment drive for more enforcement officers.

Over the same period a combined total of 67 cheats were also caught in Felixstowe and Stowmarket.

The sharp increase in licence avoidance detections in Ipswich comes after TV Licensing more than doubled the number of its officers on the streets of the town over the few months.

Vanessa Wood, of TV Licensing said: "The number of evaders caught in March demonstrates the success of our enhanced visiting strategy, resulting in more knocks on unlicensed doors than ever before. We are increasingly successful at catching evaders and this is a warning to anyone who thinks they can get away with it.

"Our inquiry officers work at all hours, especially during peak viewing times and the weekends, when people tend to watch the most TV. In fact, more and more of our officers are now working 5pm to 9pm, not 9am to 5pm."

The TV Licensing database of over 28 million addresses is one of the largest in the UK and shows which properties across the country are licensed and those that are not licensed. Inquiry officers have access to this on a daily basis and specifically target unlicensed properties.

"With a possible trip to court and a fine of up to £1,000, we always prefer people to buy a licence rather than be prosecuted and we are urging local evaders to buy a licence before they get caught."

TV Licensing has also launched an online facility allowing people to buy their TV licence through direct debit online. Anyone who wishes to set up direct debit can log onto www.tvlicensing.co.uk/dd

For more information on TV Licensing, including concessions and ways to pay, please call 0870 241 5590 or visit the website at www.tvlicensing.co.uk.

N Do you think you should still have to pay a licence fee for television? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

WAYS TO PAY

N A colour TV Licence costs £121. There are several ways to pay:

N Credit/Debit Card: Simply call 08705 22 66 66 and pay by credit or debit card. This facility accepts payment from a range of cards including Visa, MasterCard, Switch, Delta and Connect. You can also pay online using your credit or debit card at www.tvlicensing.co.uk

N Direct Debit: Direct debit is now the most popular and hassle-free way to pay for your licence - more than half of all licence payers now pay this way. Phone 08705 22 66 66 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/dd to set up a monthly, quarterly or annual Direct Debit.

N By Post: Simply send a cheque made payable to TV Licensing to the following address: TV Licensing, Freepost BS6689, Bristol BS1 3YJ. Please write your name, address and reference number on the back.

N At Any Post Office: Pay by cash or cheque at any post office branch. Just pick up an application form when you're there or ask at the counter for details.

N PayPoint: Cash payments under the Cash Easy Entry scheme at PayPoint outlets around the UK - call 08457 289 289.


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