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BBC uses RIPA terrorism laws to catch TV licence fee dodgers in Northern Ireland

Exclusive: Broadcaster is using Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act used for surveillance

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Businessman Looking Through Large Binoculars

By Adrian Rutherford

The BBC is using anti-terror spy laws to trap licence fee dodgers in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

It has invoked the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to catch viewers evading the £145 charge.

The Act, which regulates the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, was introduced in 2000 to safeguard national security.

But a series of extensions mean it can now be applied to investigate minor offences, including not paying the licence fee.

The BBC confirmed its use of RIPA in Northern Ireland after enquiries from this newspaper.


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However, the publicly-funded broadcaster refused to give details of what way and how often it applied the legislation.


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