MORE than 2,000 people were caught watching television without a licence in East Lancashire last year.

New figures released last night by national TV Licensing revealed that more than 900 people were caught watching the box without paying for it in Blackburn during 2012.

There were more than 20 in Clitheroe, more than 430 in Accrington and over 680 in Burnley.

The illegal telly watchers face 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, whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.

Lucy Baird, from TV Licensing, said: “The data released shows that 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.”