MORE than 260 people were caught watching television without a valid licence in Morpeth last year, according to new figures.
TV Licensing has revealed that they were among the 2,050 people found to be watching TV illegally across Northumberland in 2011.
The UK number was almost 390,000 and the evasion rate of households with a television set was five per cent. This level has been about the same for the last five years.
Those who are caught face a penalty of a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs and a victim surcharge.
Anyone found guilty is also required to buy a TV Licence at £145.50 if they still need one or they could face a second prosecution.
TV Licensing spokesman for Northern England Tim Downs said: “It’s our role to make sure everyone is aware of when they need to be covered by a licence.
“On behalf of licence fee payers in Morpeth, we are committed to tackling evasion and enforcing the law amongst the small minority who should pay, but don’t. It’s only fair.
“People are given every opportunity to pay, but if they fail to do so and watch TV illegally, we will seek a prosecution.”
Information to help people decide which payment option will work best for them can be found at www.tvlicensing.co.uk