ALMOST 1,300 people were caught TV licence-dodging in Wigan last year.
TV Licensing says that the average evasion rate remains at a low of just over five per cent, meaning almost 95 per cent of homes are correctly licensed.
In the region Wigan sits mid-table for dodgers: there are more than 1,900 in Bolton, around 1,200 in St Helens and around 1,000 in Warrington.
Lucy Baird, from TV Licensing, said: “The data released today shows evasion remains at historically low levels of approximately five per cent, with the overwhelming majority of people ensuring there are correctly licensed.
“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 do not pay.
“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.
“We also work with a range of money advice organisations – their staff can provide useful information and payment advice to help people budget for a TV Licence.
“If people decide to watch TV without being properly licensed, they risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.
Richard Haymes, Head of Creditor Relations at Leeds-based national charity, StepChange Debt Charity, said: “TV Licensing makes it easier for us to help our clients keep within the law.
“We welcome the many ways to pay – this will help people on lower incomes plan and meet their TV Licensing requirements and we would ask anyone experiencing difficulty with payments to contact TV Licensing so they can provide additional advice.”
For further information about licensing requirements and ways to pay, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.