A pub landlady caught without a television licence has been ordered to pay £445 by a court, according to the TV Licensing authority.
In a statement, the authority said that Lynn Peters, from The Cock Inn, on Worthing Road, Southwater, was fined £220 in her absence for the offence of using a TV without a licence on the business premises. She was also ordered to pay £195 costs and a £30 victim surcharge following a magistrate’s review of the case on March 23 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.
TV Licensing says that any business showing television programmes as they’re broadcast on TV, whether for customers’ use or in staff areas, must be covered by a valid TV Licence.
A spokesman said: “If there is living accommodation on the premises where a TV is also in use, this must be covered by a separate licence. Those without a valid licence are breaking the law and run the risk of a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, plus costs.
“Businesses found guilty are also required to buy a TV Licence at £145.50, or they could face a potential second prosecution.”
And, says the TV authority, according to research, “long-term business reputation is more important than any gains made by cutting corners, particularly when it comes to keeping on the right side of the law.
“A survey of over 250 managers at UK businesses, conducted with the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of TV Licensing, showed that where a business needs to make cutbacks, just 14 per cent would consider not paying for a TV licence where one was needed.
“The BCC survey also showed that, of those asked what would motivate them to ensure they were correctly licensed, 98 per cent answered the potential reputational damage from negative press coverage of a prosecution for TV Licence evasion.”
Ben Craig, TV Licensing spokesman for London and the South East, said: “We appreciate these are tough times for businesses, but to be fair to the majority who do pay the licence fee, we have to take action against those who watch TV illegally.
“As our survey shows, those businesses who do try to get away with it might find the price of being caught to be higher than just a fine.
“We’d rather businesses think ahead and check if they need a licence than risk being prosecuted. A licence costs £145.50 and can be bought in minutes online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/businessinfo.”
TV Licensing is also reminding other businesses to make sure they are aware of their licensing requirements, to avoid the risk of prosecution and a large fine. Last year, TV Licensing enquiry officers visited more than 36,000 businesses across the UK, ranging from takeaway restaurants and holiday parks to garages, hair salons and sports clubs, to confirm if they were correctly licensed.