TV Licensing Midlands revealed that in the first six months of 2010, 469 people in Lincoln were caught watching TV without a licence. Last year, 877 were caught watching TV without a licence in the city.
The 469 caught are out of the 209,000 people across the UK who do not have a licence. However, the average evasion rate is low at just over 5%, meaning 95% of homes across the country are paying for their licences appropriately.
“The vast majority of people in Lincoln pay their licence fee, and to be fair to those who pay, we have to be firm with those who attempt to get away without paying,” said Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesperson for East Anglia.
“We take TV Licence evasion very seriously and, while we give people every opportunity to pay, we will not hesitate to prosecute if people continue to break the law. 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 cash payment plan.”
A TV License for a colour television is priced at £145.50 per year, and is required even if live television programmes are recorded or watched online. Anyone caught watching television illegally could face prosecution, as well as up to £1,000 in fines.