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Thousands of TV licence dodgers get a knock on the door in east London

PUBLISHED: 15:26 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 26 October 2017

Thousands of TV licence dodgers in east London have had knock on the door in past 12 months. Picture: TV Licensing

Thousands of TV licence dodgers in east London have had knock on the door in past 12 months. Picture: TV Licensing

TV Licensing

More than 7,300 households have been caught without a TV licence across east London in the past 12 months, according to latest figures.

The 'snoop' van with its gismo equipment that can detect a TV signal in any home. Picture: TV LicensingThe 'snoop' van with its gismo equipment that can detect a TV signal in any home. Picture: TV Licensing

There were only 450 licence dodgers in Tower Hamlets—but this was nothing compared to other areas like Newham, Barking and Dagenham where evasion ran wild.

Barking & Dagenham had 1,660 caught—the third highest across Greater London where a total of 28,000 dodgers were traced in the 32 boroughs in the 12 months to July.

Newham had up to 1,412 evaders and Hackney had 849. Redbridge and Waltham Forest had around 2,000 dodgers between them.

The low figure for Tower Hamlets put more honest East Enders who love their telly in the bottom 10 areas for licence evasion.

Most honest areas were The City, Westminster, Camden, Richmond and the royal borough of Kensington & Chelsea, each with fewer than 300 dodgers.

Some 15 out of every hundred viewers across London think they can’t be visited by a licensing officer because of where they live, the TV Licensing agency warns.

“Many people live in buildings with a concierge or a private lobby,” one enquiry officer said.

“But that’s no reason to think we can’t visit them, as staff or management companies responsible for these buildings arrange visits for us.”

But license dodging has been dropping, compared to a decade ago.

Even Newham households are getting a little more honest, having topped London’s licence-dodging ‘league of shame’ two years running in 2007 and 2008. Figures back then showed 2,100 families getting the knock on the door in the first six months of 2008 alone.

Their Tower Hamlets neighbours were more smug that year, with fewer than 900, while Hackney was slightly more honest with just 750. But even these figures have been coming down in recent years.

A licence is required by law to receive or record programmes as they are being shown or downloaded, or to watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, the agency warns. Otherwise dodgy viewers risk fines of up to £1,000. An annual colour licence costs £147, black and white £49.50.

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