Over 10,000 caught watching TV without licence in NI

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More than 10,000 people were caught watching TV without a licence in Northern Ireland during the first half of the year.

The figure, revealed on Wednesday by TV Licensing, includes more than 3,000 in Belfast, 778 in Newry and 773 in Londonderry.

They are among almost 209,000 people caught across the UK in the first six months of 2010.

Anyone watching TV illegally risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Deborah King, TV Licensing spokesperson, said the organisation provides numerous payment options to make the purchase of a TV licence easier.

However, she said: "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."

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

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