HUNDREDS of people in Eastbourne were caught without a valid television licence in 2011.
More than 460 Eastbourne households were caught, TV Licensing revealed this week.
This compares to more than 1,060 in Brighton, 660 in Crawley, 400 in Worthing, and 340 in Hastings.
TV Licensing catches more than 1,000 evaders every day and there were 2,800 people caught watching TV illegally across East Sussex, more than 2,500 in West Sussex, and almost 390,000 across the UK.
However, the estimated evasion rate remains steady at around five per cent, as it has done for the last five years.
This means the vast majority of people, or 19 out of 20 households and businesses, are correctly licensed.
Pauline Gillingham, TV Licensing spokesperson for the South East, said, “TV viewing is as popular as ever, with the percentage of households who have a television set at 96.7 per cent, and 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 Eastbourne, 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.
“The penalty is 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. It’s really not worth the risk.”
TV Licensing wants to make it as easy as possible for people to pay for a TV Licence and therefore offers a number of ways to spread the cost, including Direct Debit and a weekly or monthly cash payment plan.
For more information visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.