Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 12:01 UK

200,000 TV licence evaders caught

A television set
TV Licensing officials have a database listing the UK's 29 million homes

A total of 209,000 people have been caught during the past six months for watching television without a licence in the UK.

More than 16,300 evaders were caught in London, more than in any other city, with Glasgow and Birmingham coming second and third.

Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast were also high on the list.

A fine of up to 1,000 can be given to anyone found to have broken the law by failing to buy a 139.50 licence.

TV Licensing officials can detect which of the UK's homes do not have a licence through a database holding details of more than 29 million addresses.

1. London - 16,319
2. Glasgow - 11,661
3. Birmingham - 4,708
4. Liverpool - 3,884
5. Manchester - 3,626
6. Edinburgh - 3,326
7. Belfast - 3,190
8. Bristol - 2,978
9. Nottingham - 2,715
10. Hull - 2,564
Source: TV Licensing

"Buying a TV licence is simple and can be done in minutes online, so there's no excuse for licence dodgers letting the side down," said spokeswoman Joanna Pearce.

"Officers can target addresses where they suspect people are watching TV illegally."

In Glasgow nearly 11,700 evaders were caught in the first half of 2008.

The total in Birmingham was more than 4,700, while a further 3,900 were prosecuted in Liverpool.

Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast each had more than 3,000 evaders, with Bristol, Nottingham and Hull coming next on the list to complete the top 10.

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