Illegal streaming service arrest
July 28, 2021
By Colin Mann
A West Mercia police operation working closely with UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT have arrested a man in the western England town of Shrewsbury in connection with suspected illegal streaming of premium television channels, and other copyrighted material.
The man was arrested under section 44 of the Serious Crime Act and Section 11 of the Fraud Act on suspicion of facilitating others to commit the offence of obtaining services dishonestly, and concealing/converting criminal property (money laundering) following an investigation in partnership with FACT. He was taken to Shrewsbury Police Station for questioning and has now been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
During the warrant, officers were able to access and disrupt the online platform, disable the suspected illegal streams and deliver an on screen message to those who receive them warning that the content accessed is suspected to be unlawful.
“This operation is the unit’s first arrest in relation to online streaming and sends out a strong message that we are homing in on those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement,” asserted Sergeant Ian Osborne from West Mercia’s Cyber Crime Unit.
“Not only is there an enormous loss to the entertainment industry with this particular operation but it is also unfair that millions of people work hard to afford their subscription-only TV services while others cheat the system.”
“It is also worth noting that this operation benefits those who are knowingly paying a criminal for their service as they are giving their personal and financial information to someone who is more than capable of exploiting them, their finances and their privacy,” he advised.
“Piracy is fraud and anyone motivated by financial gain from doing this needs to know that this is a crime which will be taken seriously by Police,” warned Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT.
“There is also a risk to users and subscribers of pirate services, who commit an offence themselves, of identity theft, fraud, malware and viruses. Anyone who is considering turning to illegal content should consider whether it’s worth giving criminals access to their devices, personal information and bank accounts.
“FACT will continue to monitor channels used to advertise, market, sell and distribute apps, devices and streams and will take action against suppliers and operators. I would like to thank West Mercia Police for their work on this case so far,” he added.