Tuned in without licence

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A TOTAL of 490 Newtownabbey residents have been caught watching television without a licence,

They were among more than 15,300 tuning in without payment across Northern Ireland during the past 12 months.

This compares to 260 in Carrickfergus, 210 in Larne and 320 in Bangor.

Deborah King, TV Licensing spokeswoman said: “In order to be fair to the law-abiding majority who do pay for their licence, we’ll continue to pursue the small minority of people do not pay.

“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. If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”

Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy for Advice NI, commented: “These are difficult times as many households struggle to cope with the recession, welfare reform and rising household bills. Advice NI is at the forefront in trying to help people in financial difficulties draw up a budget to enable them to meet household bills and expenses.

“TV Licensing makes the process of purchasing a licence as easy as possible, with many ways to pay and an informative website helps to ensure that people are correctly licensed. We would urge anyone having trouble with payments to contact TV Licensing so they can provide additional advice.”

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.

For further information about licensing requirements and ways to pay, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk