HUNDREDS of young people across Hampshire have been caught watching TV without a licence, new figures have revealed.

The statistics show that almost 600 18 to 25-year-olds have been captured watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a licence in the past year.

The area in Hampshire with the highest number of young people caught was Southampton, at 195.

Portsmouth was the second-highest (84) while Havant was the third-highest, at 46.

In comparison, 43 young people were caught across the entire county of Oxfordshire in the same period.

Across the South East, the areas with the highest number of young people caught were Kent (694), followed by Hampshire (594) and Essex (541).

With more than 1,300,000 students under the age of 25 currently studying across England, - more than 35,000 in Southampton - TV Licensing is reminding students they could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if they are caught watching live TV, or BBC programmes on iPlayer, on any device, without a TV Licence.

Cody Want, spokesperson for TV Licensing London and South East, said: “Every year there are myths which circulate around campus about when you do and don’t need a licence.

“As most students own at least one device capable of showing live TV or watching BBC iPlayer - such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – it’s important they know the law around being correctly licensed.

“ If you’re watching live TV on any device, including mobiles and tablets, or watch catch up programmes on BBC iPlayer, you need to be covered by a TV licence.”