Police uncover £3million TV fraud operation in Ilford

Computers, set-top boxes and other equipment valued around �100,000 was seized in connection with th

Computers, set-top boxes and other equipment valued around �100,000 was seized in connection with the fraud. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Two men arrested on suspicion of helping to run a £3million TV fraud operation based in Ilford have been released under investigation.

Police officers investigating an operation to download, encrypt and widely distribute TV content from Sky, Virgin and BT, among others, raided Ilford shop premises and two associated homes this week.

The raids were conducted in partnership with Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham Trading Standards teams and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Equipment with an estimated value of £100,000 used to enable the fraud – including an array of computers, servers, set-top boxes – has been seized by the councils.

Officers estimate the annual value of the fraud, where content was stolen from pay-per-view channels, is more than £3m.

The fraudsters income is known to be £600,000 per year and a subscriber list of 3,000 people was found in the shop premises.

Councillor Bob Littlewood, cabinet member for crime, safety and community cohesion, commended the collaboration between all organisations involved in investigating the operation.

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He said: “This type of fraud, on this scale has an impact upon providers of TV channels, steals their income and can lead to increased costs for legitimate subscribers.

“Our Trading Standards service will continue to take robust action against fraudsters protecting both consumers and legitimate businesses.

“Investigations are ongoing and Redbridge Trading Standards are continuing with enforcement action to bring the offenders before the courts, including the seizure of illegal assets gained from the fraud.”