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31 March 2010, 17:29 | Updated: 31 March 2010, 18:04
Police in Waterlooville have arrested two men after sixty Virgin Media set-top boxes were seized during a raid on Monday, March 22.
Officers joined forces with Virgin Media as part of a police operation to stop the illegal modification of digital TV set-top boxes.
Two addresses in Lantana Close and Britten Way were searched and a 48-year-old man and a 49-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of defrauding Virgin Media. They have been released on police bail until August 11, pending further enquiries.
Sergeant Neil Goodyear said: “This was a successful operation and Hampshire Constabulary are pleased to have been able to work in partnership with Virgin Media to target people illegally benefiting from the proceeds of crime. I would urge the public to be aware that using set-top boxes that have been illegally modified to receive digital TV subscription channels for free are committing a serious criminal offence. Anyone receiving channels that should be paid for is at risk of being prosecuted.”
Malcolm Davies, Virgin Media’s head of fraud and security said: "This should act as a serious warning to others to steer clear of selling illegal TV equipment. We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with police forces throughout the UK to prosecute individuals connected with this type of fraud.
"Anyone thinking of buying a cut-price box needs to know that they are needlessly throwing money away. Later this year we will introduce a new encryption process in Hampshire, which is already rolling out across other parts of the UK now. This will protect our existing customers and make it impossible for others to take our services unless they pay for them legitimately.
"We understand it might be embarrassing for anyone who has already been misled by these sellers and conned, but if people are concerned that they have been sold illegal cable TV equipment they can call 0800 052 1255 in confidence and Virgin Media’s team will be able to offer advice and help on how to get services legitimately."
Anyone with information about this kind of criminal activity should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the confidential Virgin Media hotline on 0800 096 7800.