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Open season to catch TV cheats; EURO 2000 GIVES INSPECTORS PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO CATCH NON-PAYERS.

TELEVISION licence dodgers in Coventry and Warwickshire are being warned that an England defeat may not be the only miserable result of Euro 2000.

Television licence inspectors will be in the area during the month-long tournament in a bid to catch fans watching games at home without a licence.

Anyone caught without a licence could face a court appearance and fine of up to pounds 1,000.

Simon Ablitt, director of field operations at TV Licensing, said previous national figures showed the number of licence dodgers caught increased during major football tournaments.

He said: "In 1996 we caught 22,893 evaders in May, with this figure inc- reasing by 3,000 to 25,862 throughout June and the Euro '96 tournament."

Viewing figures for Euro 2000 are expected to equal the 25 million who watched Euro '96, with peaks for crunch fixtures such as the England v Germany game on Saturday, June 17.

Mr Ablitt added: "With about 1,000 evaders caught each day in the UK, the net is closing on households without a licence.

"Euro '96 proved an excellent example of how people without a licence are vulnerable to increased detection activity.

"Our activities are of course on-going but sporting events of this size provide us with the perfect platform to catch licence evaders.

"We are certainly not out to spoil anyone's enjoyment of what promises to be an excellent tournament but there really is no excuse for people not having a licence.

"We have worked hard to make it as simple as possible for people to obtain a licence no matter what their situation."

A colour TV licence costs pounds 104 a year from any post office.
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Author:Gibbons, Duncan
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 10, 2000
Words:280
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