Half of all TV Licensing evaders are caught in the early morning, evening and at weekends, according to new figures released today.

TV Licensing Enquiry Officers focus their efforts on unlicensed addresses when occupants are most likely to be at home. Last month, more than 11,000 evaders across the UK were caught watching live TV or BBC programmes on iPlayer without a licence before 9am, after 5pm or on weekends.

In a recent survey almost a third of all adults thought it unlikely that anyone watching live TV without a licence would be caught, yet in June alone, more than 22,000 evaders were caught without a licence.

A total of 952 evaders were caught without a licence in Northern Ireland in June, 479 of those were caught out of hours – before 9am, after 5pm and at weekends.

In Derry, during the same period, 73 evaders were caught with 52% of those being caught outside typical working hours.

Jonathan King, TV Licensing spokesperson for Northern Ireland, said: “Our officers knock on over 10,000 doors a day -  one every five seconds. In 2016/17, we caught around 256,600 evaders from all walks of life.  Officers can explain payment plans which spread the cost of a licence. We’d always rather help people pay than prosecute and encourage them to contact us for help and advice.”

“We offer a variety of ways to spread the cost, including a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card or a monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can be set up very quickly online or over the phone. We also work with almost 500 money advice and community organisations across the UK to offer information on when a licence is needed, ways to pay and concessions.”

Ron Hand, TV Licensing Field Operations Lead, said: In order to be fair to the majority who do pay for their licence, we’ll continue to pursue the small minority of people who do not pay. We make sure some of our visits are scheduled when popular programmes such EastEnders are aired or football matches are screened, outside normal working hours,” he said.Enquiry officers focus their visits on unlicensed addresses where occupants have ignored previous attempts to make contact. TV Licensing continually refines the information used to select the time of visits, in order to effectively target unlicensed households.

The vast majority of first time evaders are not prosecuted if they buy a licence before their case is reviewed by the courts. Around 99 per cent of TV Licensing cases taken to court in England and Wales result in a conviction.

A colour licence costs £147. A TV Licence is needed if you’re watching or recording programmes at the same time as they’re shown on TV, or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer, and can be bought online in minutes at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info.

For more information about when a licence is needed, visit tvlicensing.co.uk/info

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email [email protected] or [email protected] at any time.