Suspended sentence for UK illegal TV decoder seller
February 6, 2024
IP protection body FACT has reported that, on January 10th, Jordan Longbottom, a 42-year-old man from Manchester, received a 22-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to charges of advertising and selling unauthorised decoders. The decoders were designed for fraudulent use, allowing users to access pay-TV services without remunerating legitimate providers, significantly undermining their commercial interests.
The verdict, handed down at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, follows an extensive investigation by FACT in close collaboration with Greater Manchester Police.
The inquiry, initiated in October 2015, stemmed from intelligence suggesting that Longbottom was operating a website and an associated Facebook page to offer illegal IPTV services. He provided a substantial number of customers with equipment and technical resources, enabling them to access premium film and television content, including sports, without remitting payment to legitimate providers such as Sky and Virgin Media.
Despite being served a cease-and-desist notice by FACT in January 2016, Longbottom continued his illegal activities, setting up a new Facebook page and website. A second notice was issued in February 2016, yet Longbottom continued his illegal operations.
In January 2017, police officers from the Economic Crime Unit at Greater Manchester Police executed a warrant and seized several items, including Set-Top Boxes and digital devices. Although Longbottom was not present at the time, this led to the arrest of Longbottom in March 2017 at Manchester Airport upon his return from Florida, US. This arrest uncovered additional evidence, including his customer list, and a forensic examination by FACT provided crucial evidence for his prosecution.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, commented: ” We would like to thank Greater Manchester Police for their assistance and involvement, without which convictions such as this would not be possible.” This ruling underscores our steadfast commitment to upholding the rule of law, protecting intellectual property rights, and preserving a fair and balanced marketplace for all stakeholders. It sends a clear message about the serious consequences of such illicit activities and serves as a deterrent for potential infringers.”
Financial Investigator Keith Graham of GMP’s Economic Crime Unit and former GMP detective in the unit Paul Bayliss, added: “We are really pleased to hear of this sentencing result today. It comes as a result of some really great teamwork between ourselves and our partners. This case has been investigated since 2017 and it goes to show that our officers and staff will not stop until justice has been served and those responsible have been brought to justice. Our economic crime unit, alongside partner agencies such as FACT will actively pursue and robustly investigate anyone who thinks it is acceptable to break the law and commit crime in our communities.”