HAMPSHIRE businesses could risk being fined up to £1,000 for not having a TV licence.

Last year more than 800,000 people across the country tuned in to watch live events online during business hours, including the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Wimbledon and The Open golf championship.

But although most people know they need a TV licence for their homes, TV Licensing is now reminding businesses that they may need one for their workplace, too.

A TV licence is needed if anyone, including both customers and employees, watches or records TV programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, whether they view it on a TV, tablet, computer, phone or any other equipment.

If anyone is caught watching TV illegally the business or the employee could face a £1,000 fine – even if the employer didn’t know staff or customers had been tuning in. Last year TV Licensing visited 170 Southampton businesses to check they held a correct and up to date licence.

Emma Cowlard from TV Licensing said: “With services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD streaming live TV it can be tempting to watch major televised occasions or sporting events sat at your desk during the working day. But employers and employees in Southampton need to be aware of their TV Licensing requirements if they are watching live TV in the workplace. “Rather than risk being prosecuted and facing a fine we would rather business owners and managers take a few moments to review and update their licensing requirements.”

A licence costs £145.50 and can be bought online at tvlicensing.co.uk/business. There is also a downloadable guide to help businesses and staff understand the legal implications of watching programmes live at work.