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Hundreds caught in TV licence op

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

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MORE than 600 TV licence dodgers were caught by the authorities in Burton and South Derbyshire last year.

Three hundred and ninety people in Burton were caught using televisions without paying the £145.50 annual charge during 2012 – a significant drop from the 700 caught in 2011.

There were also 250 people collared in Swadlincote after failing to pay for a licence.

Those caught cheating the system are hauled before the courts and hit with fines of up to £1,000.

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman for the Midlands, said: “The data released shows evasion remains at historically low levels of approximately five per cent, 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’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.”

Head of creditor relations at StepChange Debt Charity, Richard Haymes, 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.”

More information is available at www.tvlicensing.co.uk

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  • CHUMPIECHAP  |  February 20 2013, 7:10PM

    Well done to the TV licensing authorities. 640 people caught trying to dodge the system, which ultimately means that the people who do pay for their licenses as they should do, will inevitably be paying for the dodgers who don't and that is not fair. There are numerous ways to pay for it and budget payment schemes for everyone, so there are no excuses not to pay. I would like to know how many people ever receive a substantial fine as I doubt that it would be many, but should be, to deter others from seeing if they can get away with it. I did note that Richard Haymes from Step Change Debt Charity says, "We welcome the many ways to pay - this will help people on lower incomes plan and meet their TV Licensing requirements" and how "TV Licensing makes it easier for us to help clients keep within the law" It seems that in this particular swoop in these areas that his offer of help fell on deaf ears as the only difference from the 2011 figure of 700 prosecutions was 60 less to 640 in 2012. A great shame when help is available from all sides, yet people still would rather take the risk of being caught with the usual assumption that they won't be. If you think that you should have a TV License for free, but you are not one of the section of the community who are entitled to one, then go and argue your case to the right authorities and don't expect others who pay and keep within the law, to pay for the people who are breaking it.