A joint operation between Trading Standards Scotland, Police Scotland and the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has targeted a major illegal distributor of premium TV content.
The distributor, based in the West of Scotland, is believed to have provided illegal access to premium TV, sports and movie content to dozens of separate illegal streaming services, who in turn provided access to tens thousands of subscribers across the UK.
Two properties were searched, and multiple devices suspected to be used for the illegal streaming of TV content were seized. PIPCU also took coordinated action to disable a significant number of servers, causing major disruption to the distributor’s network.
“Tackling illicit trade in Scotland is one of the key aims of Scotland’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy. Illicit trade can have a serious impact on our communities and offers an opportunity for organised crime groups to profit at the expense of legitimate business,” said Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer of Trading Standard Scotland.
“This was a highly organised group which purposely set out to defraud the television, film and sport industry,” added Ceri Hunt, Detective Sergeant in the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit at the City of London Police. “We took down a significant number of servers, all providing illegal digital content, which demonstrates the scale of this illegal streaming business and the financial impact it was having on the television industry. Together with our partners, we’re determined to crack down on these fraudsters and bring them to justice.”
It’s thought that dozens of services which were using content provided by this illegal operation have now been disrupted or permanently closed, affecting thousands of subscribers.