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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 07:51 GMT
Licence fee 'league of shame'
Children watching television
Database of over 26 million addresses
More than 20,000 households have been discovered without a television licence throughout Northern Ireland in 2002, according to the latest statistics.

Out of a record 20,452 evaders caught, Belfast had the highest number with 4,732 licence dodgers discovered.

Craigavon and Newry were next, with 2,187 and 1,510 evaders respectively.

Londonderry had the fourth highest number of detections, with a 435% increase in the number caught in 2002 compared with the year before.

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The BBC is funded by the 2.3bn a year it receives from households paying the television licence fee.

A colour television licence currently costs 112 while a black and white licence is 37.50.

TV Licensing spokesman Pat McParland said those who are caught risk an appearance in court, a fine of up to 1,000 and court costs, as well as the price of a licence.

"It is a tough penalty to pay," he said.

TV Licensing operates a database of more than 26m UK addresses.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has overall responsibility for licence fee policy, including setting the level of the fee, but the BBC is responsible for issuing licences, collecting licence fees and enforcing the licensing system.

See also:

18 Dec 02 | Politics
15 May 02 | Entertainment
27 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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