Set-top boxes seized during Walsall fraud raid

Dozens of electronic items including suspected illegal set-top boxes have been seized from a Walsall flat during a warrant this morning (30 June).

The items were located after a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) into the sales of illegal set-top boxes that allow free access to subscription television services, sports content and movies.

Officers from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) assisted with the strike action which was carried out today by Walsall Police at the flat at Barleyfield House in Bath Street.

In total 35 set-top boxes were seized along with computers, mobile phones and sat navs. They will now be forensically examined to determine if any offences have taken place.

Trading Standards are also involved in the investigation and will help to establish if any licensing infringements have taken place.

A 50-year-old man is helping officers with the enquiry and has been voluntarily interviewed by police and investigators from FACT.

As part of the same investigation officers from the Met Police carried out further warrants in Feltham, Middlesex this morning. A 48-year-old man and a woman were arrested and more than 1,000 set-top boxes were seized along with a large quantity of sat navs.

Kieron Sharp, Director General, FACT, said: “The proliferation of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and set top boxes along with apps and add-ons that facilitate illegal streams have created new opportunities for piracy and the delivery of stolen content.

“As today’s action demonstrates, we are working in close partnership with our colleagues in law enforcement on addressing these threats and are committed to bringing those responsible to account.”

Regional GAIN Co-ordinator Jason Grove, from the ROCU, said: “Today’s action is an excellent example of our multi-agency working across force boundaries to tackle serious and organised crime.

“These kinds of offences cost the economy and in particular the film and television industry tens of thousands of pounds each year and today shows that we will take action against those involved.

“Anyone with information about this kind of crime can report it to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.”

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