Three-quarters of people prosecuted in Gwent for television licence evasion in 2022 were women, new figures show.

The Magistrates' Association said a better understanding of what is behind the gender disparity is needed to address the issue.

It comes as the TV licence increased £169.50 to this month, up from £159.

Ministry of Justice figures show there were 1,365 adults prosecuted for TV licence evasion in Gwent in 2022. Of these, 1,023 (75%) were women.

It is down from 76% the year before.

A TV licence is a legal requirement for anyone wanting to watch live TV on terrestrial channels, or online streaming. The fine for not having a licence is up to £1,000 plus any legal costs. Additional compensation may also be ordered.

Tom Franklin, chief executive of the Magistrates’ Association said the organisation is concerned the offence disproportionately affects women.

He said: "This gender disparity is not reflected in who holds the TV licence, which suggests that the disparity results from either capacity or willingness to pay, or the enforcement practices being followed."

He added it is thought women are more likely to register as heads of household or are more likely to be home during the day, therefore more likely to answer the door to inspectors.

"What we are clear about is that a better understanding is needed of what is behind the disparity, and then action should be taken to address it going forward," he said.

A TV Licencing spokesperson said: "Prosecution is always a last resort and our priority is to help people stay correctly licensed."

They added the issue of why more women are prosecuted than men is a "complex one".

They said: "It was the subject of an in-depth, independently overseen review published last year which found no evidence that TV Licensing deliberately discriminates against any group; that gender is not a factor in the way that we collect the licence fee and that broader societal factors, such as financial hardship and household composition, drive the disparity.

"We are now implementing a 10-point plan to offer further support to people, mitigate the risks of these societal factors where possible and therefore reduce the risk of prosecution."