MORE than 220 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Leigh during the first six months of 2012, TV Licensing has revealed.
This compares to more than 640 in Wigan, around 680 in St Helens, over 270 in Skelmersdale and more than 3940 in Manchester.
They are among more than 204,000 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.
Jenny Wilkinson, TV Licensing spokesperson for the North of England, said: “The figures paint a very positive picture as the vast majority of people in the UK continue to pay their licence fee. Unfortunately, a minority of people do not pay for their licence, which is unfair to the law-abiding majority who do pay.
“If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. 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 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”.
Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) director of external affairs Delroy Corinaldi, said:“We work closely with people experiencing financial difficulties to help them manage their outgoings and 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. 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.