Belfast Telegraph

20,000 caught without TV licence

More than 20,000 people were caught watching television without a licence in Northern Ireland last year, it has been revealed.

Some 5,700 were detected in Belfast, more than 1,370 in Newry, 1,300 in Craigavon and 1,140 in Dungannon.

The average evasion rate in Northern Ireland remains at a low with almost 95% of properties licensed. Almost 400,000 were caught across the UK.

TV Licensing spokeswoman Deborah King 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.

"We do understand that some people may find it difficult to pay their licence fee in one go, which is why we offer numerous ways to spread the cost, including monthly direct debit, which can be set up very quickly online, and a weekly or monthly cash payment plan."

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