Five people have been arrested in a crackdown on the sale and distribution of set-top TV boxes which can be used to stream illegal content.
The devices – many loaded with the streaming Kodi software – have proved a huge hit with people desperate to watch films, TV and live sport.

Kodi itself is not illegal – but the legality of ‘pre-loaded’ boxes which allow users to stream paid for content is questionable.

Today, a multi-agency day of action saw FACT, Greater Manchester Police, City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) join forces and execute six warrants in the North-west.

Fact say fully-loaded TV set-top devices were seized at the homes of five suspects, with unlicensed add-ons and apps which allow users to illegally stream content to their TV such as premium pay-for channels, live sport and films.

Collectively it is believed the suspects have made in the region of £250,000 (€293,000) across social media, online forums, as well as their own dedicated websites.

All were taken to local police stations for questioning and have since been released on bail pending further enquiries.

The day of action was instigated by FACT on behalf the Premier League, Sky, BT Sport and Virgin Media.

Officers from Greater Manchester Police, Merseyside Police and City of London Police also joined FACT investigators on Tuesday to issue three cease and desist notices to other offenders on a lower scale.

Two further investigations have also been passed on to HMRC for further action. North Wales Police also assisted officers on the operation.

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said: “Profiting from illegal streaming is completely unacceptable. The UK’s creative industries are a national asset that must be protected.

“Today’s efforts have shown that partnership works. I wish to congratulate FACT and the police for ending these criminal operations.”

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By Expat