MORE than 600 TV licence dodgers were caught by the authorities in Burton and South Derbyshire last year.
Three hundred and ninety people in Burton were caught using televisions without paying the £145.50 annual charge during 2012 – a significant drop from the 700 caught in 2011.
There were also 250 people collared in Swadlincote after failing to pay for a licence.
Those caught cheating the system are hauled before the courts and hit with fines of up to £1,000.
Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman for the Midlands, said: “The data released shows evasion remains at historically low levels of approximately five per cent, with the overwhelming majority of people ensuring they are correctly licensed. In order to be fair to the law-abiding majority who do pay for their licence, we’ll continue to pursue the small minority of people do not pay.
“We do understand some people may find it difficult to pay in one go, which is why we offer numerous ways to spread the cost.
“Payment options include a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card or a monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can be set up very quickly online or over the phone.
“We also work with a range of money advice organisations – their staff can provide useful information and payment advice to help people budget for a TV licence.
“If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
Head of creditor relations at StepChange Debt Charity, Richard Haymes, said: “TV Licensing makes it easier for us to help clients keep within the law.
“We welcome the many ways to pay – this will help people on lower incomes plan and meet their TV Licensing requirements.”
More information is available at www.tvlicensing.co.uk