The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) worked together to conduct 18 searches across Belfast and Derry.
The investigation uncovered 50 illegal streaming devices, as well as other counterfeit goods, including 8,000 cigarettes, 2.9kgs of rolling tobacco and 232 cigars.
Two men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.
PSNI detective inspector, Natalie McNally, commented: “The joint operation today is a further demonstration of our determination to tackle organised crime and those that gain from it.”
“Buying cheap counterfeit goods, cigarettes or tobacco products, which have been purchased without the relevant duty being paid, or illegal streaming devices—all of which may appear to be bargains—means that revenue to the legitimate economy is lost.”
She added: “This criminal activity puts jobs at risk and, ultimately, in terms of duty evasion, means there is less money available to provide for our public services, like health and education.”
Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, said: “Many people view piracy as a victimless crime, however consumers need to realise that illegal streaming devices offering unlawful access to TV, sport and films threaten our creative industries and the 1.9 million people in the UK working in them.”
“From sound engineers, costume designers, set carpenters and camera crew—hundreds of thousands of people’s jobs are directly affected each time TV, sport or films are pirated. There are also many risks facing the consumer that they may not be aware of.”
He concluded: “Not only is using a device to stream content without the right permissions or subscriptions breaking the law, but these devices pose a fire and electrical risk, as well as often exposing users to malware, viruses and explicit content.”