Thousands caught in TV licence blitz in South Yorkshire

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AUTHORITIES caught nearly 6,000 people watching TV without a licence in South Yorkshire in the first half of 2012.

Some 5,820 viewers are facing fines of up to £1,000 after being caught by the region’s licensing body in the first six months of the year.

Over 2,250 licence-evaders were snared in Sheffield alone, according to figures from TV Licensing.

A further 870 people without a licence were caught in in Barnsley.

Another 1,180 face fines in Doncaster and the figure was 1,190 in Rotherham.

The licence dodgers in South Yorkshire contributed to a total of 204,000 people who were caught across the UK during the first half of this year - an estimated five per cent of all television viewers.

The figure in North Yorkshire was 3,390, in West Yorkshire it was 8,020 and in the East Riding there were 2,750 licence fee dodgers caught by inspectors.

Jenny Wilkinson, TV Licensing spokeswoman for the North of England, said:

“Today’s 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.

She added: “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.”

A colour television 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 television illegally risks prosecution in the courts and a fine of up to £1,000.