MORE than 2,200 people were caught dodging their TV licence in Southampton last year.

About 100 more city households were found to have evaded the £145.50 charge than in 2011, according to new figures released today.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 people failed to pay their licence fees in Portsmouth during 2012.

Those who are caught out face a £1,000 fine, court costs and a victim surcharge.

‘Small minority’ About 400,000 people across the country were found to be watching television without a licence last year, when the top programmes included the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Evasion rates remained at about five per cent.

TV Licensing spokesman Victoria Sykes said: “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 who do not pay.

“The number of evaders caught in an area changes from time to time and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the visiting patterns of TV Licensing inquiry officers, which are subject to change.

“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.”

TV Licensing inquiry officers have access to a broad range of detection equipment, including vans and hi-tech hand-held detectors.

This equipment is used alongside a database of more than 30 million addresses. A colour TV licence is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes, whether they are using a TV set, a computer, or any other equipment.