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TV licence dodgers fined by the dozen; EVADERS CAUGHT DURING EURO 2000 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN JUNE.

MAGISTRATES have slapped hefty fines on more than 50 television licence dodgers living in Coventry.

The evaders were dealt with by the court yesterday after being caught watching TV without a valid licence.

They are among the 3,500 or so people in Coventry collared each year by the Television Licensing authority, through detector vans and hand- held devices.

Some of them were caught during the Euro 2000 football championships in June when patrols across the city were stepped up.

TV Licensing spokesman Alyson Koe said: "These prosecutions are a result of ongoing activity in the area.

"We have inquiry officers out and about at all times - it's a not a straightforward nine-to-five job, as they are out when people are watching the soaps or big sporting events in the evenings.

"The people in court this week, and every other week, thought they could get away with it, but they can't."

In May, Coventry shot up from 34th to 28th in the top 50 national "league of shame" for a sharp increase in the number of licence dodgers in the city and surrounding areas.

The number of people caught in the CV postcode area between October 1999 and March this year was 1,934, compared with 1,531 during the previous six months.

Officials say that a crucial factor in catching evaders has been the TV Licensing database, which holds details of more than 26 million addresses in the UK, so officers can target city addresses without a licence.

A colour TV licence costs pounds 104 and can be bought at any post office. Offenders face fines of up to pounds 1,000.
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Author:Gibbons, Duncan
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 6, 2000
Words:273
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