Young TV licence dodgers caught red-handed

Youngster in the firing line for watching TV illegally
Youngster in the firing line for watching TV illegally
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Nearly 150 young Wigan adults were caught watching TV without a licence last year, shock new figures reveal.

The youngsters, aged between 18 and 25, were viewing live programmes or BBC iPlayer, having not paid for the privilege, TV Licensing said.

Across the UK there were more than 33,000 in that age group caught in the same 12-month period.

On Thursday, October 26 more than 270 people were listed at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court to receive fines for watching either live TV or the BBC iPlayer app without a licence.

People living within the borough made up around 14 per cent of these, with the remainder from elsewhere in the North West. The ages of the 270 ranged from 20 years old to people in their 50s.

The research shows that BBC iPlayer continues to be the most used service for catch-up and on-demand by the student population, with 79 per cent of students in the North using it. A licence is not required to watch other catch-up apps.

The study also revealed more than 47 per cent of young people in the region think it would be would be “very embarrassing” to get caught without a licence.

As many people have recently headed off to university for the first time, the authority wants to remind people of the consequences of not having a licence.

TV Licensing spokesman Matthew Thompson said: “With many students owning at least one device capable of showing live TV or watching BBC iPlayer - such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – it’s important they know the law around being correctly licensed.

“If you’re watching live TV on any device, including mobiles and tablets, or watch catch up programmes on BBC iPlayer, you need a TV licence. Young adults need to be aware of their legal responsibilities. Anyone caught watching TV without a licence can face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

“If students are concerned about paying for a licence, they should get in touch. We know some people struggle to pay, and there are many payment options available, from paying in one go to spreading the cost over the year.”

Anyone uncertain as to whether they need a licence can visit or call 0300 790 6113.