The multi-agency action was led by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Greater Manchester Police, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
The suspects made around £250,000 across social media, online forums and their own websites. FACT said their homes were “fully-loaded” with illegal TV set-top devices,
IP minister Jo Johnson 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,” he added.
FACT director general Kieron Sharp said that the action would send out a “clear warning” to anyone involved in the sale of illegal set-top boxes.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Ratcliffe, head of PIPCU, said that this type of infringement “undermines legitimate sale of subscription television services which employ tens of thousands of people in the UK and whose contributions are key to the creative and sporting industries”.