Young licence dodgers caught by the dozen

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WIGAN’S young adult and student population have been issued with a warning about the consequences of dodging their TV licence fees.

New figures reveal that of 25,000 under-25s across the country caught watching TV without a licence last year, 160 were in Wigan borough.

Licensing officials have reminded youngsters that failure to pay their fees can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Students who live in Wigan or live away at term time are also reminded they must check whether their shared accommodation or halls are covered.

TV Licensing spokesman Paul Williams said: “With nearly all students owning at least one device capable of showing live TV – such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer - they should know the law around being correctly licensed. If you’re watching live TV on any device, including mobiles and tablets, you need a licence. Students and young adults need to be aware of their legal responsibilities. Anyone caught can face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”

Figures released earlier this year showed that almost 1,300 were caught dodging fees across the whole population of Wigan borough in the preceding 12 months.

Students who have gone away to university living in shared houses need their own cover if they use a TV in their room and have a separate tenancy agreement. Shared houses with joint tenancy agreements just require a single licence for the household.

Mr Williams said: “If students are worried about paying for a TV 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.”

A colour TV licence currently costs £145.50, and a black and white licence is £49.