ILLEGAL STREAMING: Police to descend on 1,000 homes of Premier League fans in UK
Police are set to visit the homes of 1,000 Premier League football fans in the UK who watch games through illegal streaming services.
With the cost of Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video being needed to watch all Premier League games on television, people have turned to illegal streaming services.
According to the Mirror, the police are attempting to crackdown on the number of fans watching games illegally, following previous raids.
Those raids by the West Mercia Police uncovered a huge database of a UK-based streaming service and the authorities are now set to visit houses from the database.
Fans who have the police come to their door will be warned that they risk prosecution should they continue to use the illegal services.
It is not the first time that there has been a similar operation, with 7,000 ‘Kodi box’ users receiving letters from the police two years ago.
In March 2019, three streamers were jailed for a total of 17 years and one of the men was fined nearly £1 million, which he had to pay in three months, or face a further six years behind bars.
West Mercia detective inspector Matt McNellis said, “We are able to deploy cutting-edge digital tactics to identify and detect people who break the law before carrying out enforcement activity in concert with our partners.
“Often, illegal streaming is used to fund Serious Organised Crime and West Mercia Cybercrime Unit is committed to interdicting this source of criminal revenue and reducing the harm organised crime groups can do to our communities.”
Police have worked alongside FACT, an intelligence-led organisation that specialise in investigations into intellectual property protection, in ‘Operation Raider.’
It is understandably backed by the Premier League, along with the three UK broadcasters who pay billions for the rights to show the games.
FACT Chief Executive, Kieron Sharp said, “We would like to thank the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), West Mercia Police, and other police forces across the country, for their support to help ensure that the public are made aware of the dangers of using illegal streaming services and, more importantly, that they understand that there is the risk of criminal prosecution.”
FACT were the organisation who were involved in the crackdown that sent the trio of men involved in Dreambox going to prison for a combined 17 years.
The Premier League delivered a warning to fans following those arrests, saying, “They [fans] must be aware this is not only an illegal activity that can lead to custodial sentences but they also risk becoming victims of hacking and fraud.
“We will continue to work with law enforcement to tackle piracy of our content and to educate fans on the dangers of watching Premier League matches via unauthorised streams.”
Fans have to spend a minimum of £18 a month on Sky Sports, £8.50 on BT Sport and £8.99 for Amazon Prime Video in order to see all the games.
In the UK, fans don’t get to watch the 3pm Saturday kick offs live on television but fans in other countries can watch all the Premier League games.
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