MORE than 1,600 people in Sunderland were caught watching TV without a licence last year, according to figures out today.
The report from TV Licensing also showed that more than 420 licence evaders were detected in Washington in 2010.
In Tyne and Wear, 8,740 people were found watching TV illegally and nearly 400,000 across the UK.
The average rate of TV licence evasion is just over five per cent. Anyone caught watching TV without a licence can face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
Tim Downs, TV Licensing spokesman said: “It’s not fair on the vast majority of people in Sunderland who pay their licence fee for some people to watch TV without paying.
“We try to give people every chance to get on the right side of the law, but ultimately if they fail to pay, we will take action.”
A colour TV licence costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes, whether they are using a television set, computer, or any other equipment.
TV Licensing has more than 30 million UK addresses on its database and can tell which are unlicensed. For more information, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or call 0300 790 6112.