MORE than 400 young people in Essex have been interviewed by TV Licensing officers because they did not have a valid licence.

A TV Licence is needed to watch live TV or BBC iPlayer on any device; not just a television.

TV Licensing says 431 people aged between 18 and 25 were caught either watching live TV or iPlayer illegally.

Not all interviews lead to prosecution and the majority of first-time offenders are not prosecuted if they buy a licence before their court date.

There are more than 33,295 students in Essex, and with 84 per cent of UK undergraduates aged 24 and under, TV Licensing is reminding them they risk facing prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if they are caught without a valid TV licence.

Sophia Lazarides, TV Licensing spokesperson for London and South East said: “Students will now have settled into their new term and every year myths circulate around about when you do and don’t need a licence.

“Most students own at least one device capable of showing live TV or watching BBC iPlayer - such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – it’s important they know the law around being correctly licensed, so we would encourage them to visit to find out more.”

A standard TV licence costs £154.50.