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Media: Talk of the Trade: Pubs pay more

BSKYB has resorted to strange tactics to ensure that public houses are paying increased subscription fees. Mark Hewitson, the licensee of the Star and Garter in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, says the pub was phoned last week to ask whether it was screening the Luton / West Ham match. His wife, Linda, said yes. The caller then said he was from Sky, and that the couple would be charged pounds 40 a month, double the rate they currently pay for services. BSkyB says it introduced higher charges for pubs last year, since they use live football to attract customers. Phoning around is one way of checking that pubs are complying, said a spokesman, pointing out that the BBC also tries to catch people out, with detector vans.