MORE than 150 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Rugby during the first six months of 2011.
This compares to more than 1,360 in Coventry and 280 in Nuneaton.
They are among almost 197,000 people caught across the UK during the first half of this year. The average evasion rate remains at a low of just over five per cent, meaning that almost 95 per cent of properties are correctly licensed.
Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “While the vast majority of people in the UK pay their licence fee, to be fair to those who pay, we have to be firm with those who try to get away without paying. We take TV Licence evasion very seriously and we will not hesitate to prosecute if people continue to break the law.
“We would always prefer people to buy a TV Licence than risk prosecution and give people every opportunity to pay. However, we do understand 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 a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card and monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can all be set up very quickly online.
”TV Licensing launched a new advertising campaign in May to remind people about the different ways to pay for their licence. Part two of the “Whatever’s easiest for you” ad trails will air on BBC channels for the first time this Saturday (23 July), highlighting the alternative options to paying all at once.”
Carol Siarkiewicz, executive director at the Institute of Money Advisers, said: “Lots of people struggle with their finances, but if you choose to watch TV without being correctly licensed you’re breaking the law and risk making it worse. We welcome the ways in which TV Licensing makes it as easy as possible for people to spread the cost of their TV Licence and make payments online but, if you’re having trouble, we urge you to give TV Licensing a call or seek help from a free money adviser in your area.”
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. Anyone watching TV illegally risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
Further information on how and where to pay the licence fee can be found on the TV Licensing website.