Monday 18 December 2023
Man in handcuffs behind his back

Two men thought to be behind an illegal operation selling illicit television subscription packages across the UK, have been arrested.

Yesterday (Tuesday), simultaneous warrants at residential addresses in Harlow and Chigwell in Essex, Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, and Lanarkshire in Scotland resulted in the men, aged 33 and 35, being arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and intellectual property offences.

The investigation, led by ERSOU, relates to a Telegram channel selling unauthorised access to Sky TV packages, which are thought to have been re-sold to thousands of end users, earning those involved more than £800,000.

Specialist financial investigators also seized £17,000 in cash, custom streaming devices and a number of digital devices which were sent for further examination.

The men were taken into police custody for further questioning, and subsequently bailed. Enquiries are ongoing.

In addition, the man apprehended at the Harlow address was also arrested for firearms licence breaches, after two shotguns were seized.

Detective Inspector Steve Payne, from ERSOU’s Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “Yesterday’s arrests form part of an investigation into a sophisticated large-scale criminal operation which has generated significant sums of money through the illicit sale of TV subscription packages.

“We know from experience that the money generated through illegal means such as this often goes on to fund wider organised criminality, which is why it’s key to apprehend those involved.

“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.”

Matt Hibbert, Director of Anti-Piracy, UK and ROI, at Sky said: “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. Anyone concerned about those risks can visit for more information.”

Illegal streaming services are increasingly operated by sophisticated criminal networks, often involved in other types of crime including cyber-crime. Using illegal streams can give criminals your personal information from which they can steal your money or your identity and increases the risk of devices being infected with viruses and malware.

Original article, published on 13th December can be found on the ERSOU Police website.