HUDDERSFIELD has moved up the TV League of Shame.

The town is now in seventh place in the regional table for the number of TV licence dodgers.

It has seen almost 1,700 dodgers caught in the last 12 months, pushing it up from 12th place last year in the region.

The annual League of Shame exposes the towns and cities where TV Licensing officers have caught high numbers of dodgers.

More than 31,300 dodgers were caught throughout Yorkshire - enough to fill the Galpharm Stadium over one and a half times.

Nationwide, more than 400,000 licence evaders were netted in the last 12 months.

Deborah Copeland, spokeswoman for TV Licensing in the North, said: "The 2005 League of Shame shows that we have been even more successful at catching evaders. Huddersfield has moved up the league - and this is nothing to be proud of, as it is one of the worst areas for offending in Yorkshire.

"Last year, on average, we caught over 1,000 licence dodgers - from all walks of life - every day.

"Any licence dodger caught risks a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs.

"And they still have to pay for a TV licence if they need one. A colour TV licence costs £126.50."

Officers can focus their visits on properties where there is no record of a TV licence. They use a fleet of detection equipment, including hi-tech detector vans, 4x4s and motorbikes.

This means that anyone watching TV without a valid licence can - and should - expect a visit, wherever they live.

Mrs Copeland added: "We do understand that there are some people who genuinely struggle to pay for the licence in one lump sum.

"For those on income-related state benefits we have a cash scheme, which allows people to pay in weekly or fortnightly instalments.

"Last year, we launched a text message reminder service for customers on this scheme, to make payments even easier to remember.

"We also work with a large number of organisations at a local and a national level to make them aware of TV Licensing, so they can pass on information to communities.

"There's really no excuse for breaking the law - especially when the alternative could be as simple as spending a few minutes online and visiting our website to pay for a licence."

The Yorkshire Top 10 for licence dodgers are: Leeds 4,980, Sheffield 4,430, Hull 3,262, Doncaster 3,005, Bradford 2,929, Rotherham 2,022, Huddersfield 1,687, Barnsley 1,291, Halifax 1,283, Wakefield 760.