The UK’s Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), a regional force with responsibility for disrupting organized crime and counter terrorism policing, has revealed details of raids executed on Tuesday targeting a pirate IPTV operation.
Warrants Executed in England and Scotland
ERSOU reports that simultaneous warrants were executed at residential addresses in Harlow and Chigwell in Essex, Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, and Lanarkshire in Scotland. Two men, aged 33 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and intellectual property offenses.
The investigation, led by ERSOU but most likely supported by Sky investigators, relates to a channel on Telegram where pirate subscription packages, granting illegal access to Sky TV channels, were sold to the public. Police say the packages were sold to thousands of end users, earning those behind the scheme over £800,000 (US$1.01m).
Police Seize Cash, ‘Custom’ Streaming Devices, Firearms
Police report that specialist financial investigators were able to seize around £17,000 (US$21,800) in cash, unnamed digital devices, and an unspecified number of ‘custom’ streaming devices. Supplied images featuring some of the seized cash, and clear evidence bags containing immediately recognizable orange boxes, suggests modified Amazon Firesticks were probably part of the haul.
ERSOU reports that the men were taken into police custody where they were questioned and subsequently bailed. After two shotguns were seized by police, a man at the address in Harlow was also arrested for firearms license breaches, ERSOU reports.
Large-Scale Criminal Operation
ERSOU Detective Inspector Steve Payne says the arrests were part of an investigation into a “sophisticated large-scale criminal operation” that has generated significant revenue from the sale of illicit IPTV subscription packages. The money generated comes from buyers of the packages, most likely ordinary people looking for a cheaper way to access subscription TV.
DI Payne says that after police obtained subscriber lists, further action shouldn’t be ruled out.
“We have also gained access to the details of those purchasing the streams, and I would remind anyone doing so that they will be breaking the law and could ultimately be subject to criminal proceedings,” DI Payne notes.
The arrests were also welcomed by Matt Hibbert, Sky’s Director of Anti-Piracy.
“We’re grateful to ERSOU and to the forces involved for taking this action, which will have a significant impact on the illicit sale of Sky TV. We’ll continue to support efforts to shut down the organised networks involved in the large-scale theft of our content, and to protect consumers from the risks involved in accessing content in this way,” Hibbert says.
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