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Ross-shire pubs and restaurants urged to avoid penalty over rugby screenings by TV Licensing

By Hector MacKenzie

Pubs are being urged to ensure they're covered as TV Licensing staff do the rounds during the rugby.
Pubs are being urged to ensure they're covered as TV Licensing staff do the rounds during the rugby.

PUBS, takeaways and restaurants in Ross-shire are amongst thousands of businesses being warned to ensure they've paid for their TV licence as a major sporting event gets under way.

With rugby’s Six Nations Championship kicking off this weekend, TV Licensing is advising all publicans in Ross-shire to avoid a penalty and check they are correctly covered by a TV licence if they plan to show live matches.

The warning comes as rugby fans across Scotland pack into pubs over the course of five weekends to watch the home nations in action. TV Licensing is warning that its visiting officers will also be touring unlicensed venues throughout the tournament.

Fans in the UK can catch all the action on BBC and ITV.

All businesses need to be covered by a valid TV licence if staff, customers or visitors watch or record live programmes on any TV channel or service or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. The rule applies to any device provided by the business.

Those found to be showing live games without a valid licence could end up in the sin bin as they run the risk of a court prosecution and fine of up to £1000 per offence, plus costs.

In the last three years, TV Licensing enquiry officers visited more than 44,000 businesses across the UK, including pubs, takeaway restaurants and sports clubs, to confirm if they are correctly licensed.

Fergus Reid, spokesperson for TV Licensing Scotland, said: “The Six Nations is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, with many fans choosing to catch the live action at a local pub with friends. The majority of pubs are correctly licensed to show live sport for their customers and we’ll be dropping in on establishments that we know are not, so our advice to landlords is to check whether they’re covered rather than risk being caught red-handed.”

Steven Alton, Chief Operating Officer of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the leading professional body for UK’s licensees, said: “Watching sport in the pub is a great British tradition, and we are sure the Six Nations will prove no different. However, together with TV Licensing, we always like to remind licensees that they must have a current TV licence in order to publicly show live sport legally.”

A TV licence costs £154.50 and can be purchased via an online form at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/businessinfo or by calling the TV Licensing business team on 0300 790 6112.

Read Ross-shire rugby coverage here.

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