A director of a London hotel has been ordered to pay £690 by magistrates for not having a television licence.
Marion Ruffy was fined £525 for having a TV at the Grove Hill hotel, in South Woodford, without a licence and ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge by Havering Magistrates Court.
Any business that shows television, either for customers' use or in staff areas, must hold a valid TV licence. Living accommodation on the same premises, where a TV is also in use, must be covered by a separate licence.
The maximum fine for not holding a valid TV licence is £1,000 per offence plus costs.
More than 1,000 businesses were caught watching TV without a licence across the UK during 2010.
Suzanne Stevenson, TV licensing spokesperson for London, said businesses that try to get away without buying a TV licence are likely to find that the price of being caught to be higher than just a fine, with the negative press coverage of a prosecution potentially causing reputational damage.
"We'd rather businesses think ahead and check if they need a licence than risk being prosecuted," she said. "A licence costs £145.50 and can be bought in minutes online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/business."
By Janet Harmer
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