Thousands of Lancashire subscribers to illegal streaming service to receive police warning
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More than 7,000 residents are believed to be subscribed to IPTV - a streaming service which allows users to illegally stream premium channels at a reduced rate.
Those signed up to the service will receive cease and desist notices via email this week asking them to stop using the service immediately.
The warning states that subscribing to these services is a crime which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine, and consequently, a criminal record.
"People who subscribe to these services might not realise that they are illegal, but the simple fact is that they are," Olivia Dodding, from Lancashire Police Cyber Crime Unit, said.
"What may cost you a relatively small fee, actually results in television producers and sports broadcasters losing millions of pounds which affects their ability to make and show sports events and entertainments series, which many of us enjoy watching.
The list of subscribers to the IPTV service was discovered after officers carried out a warrant at an address in Lytham in June.
A 28-year-old man was arrested in connection with suspected illegal streaming of premium TV channels, fraud and money laundering.
Two high value cars, designer clothing, jewellery and handbags were also seized from the address.
The man has since been released under investigation and enquiries continue.
Olivia Dodding added: "Anyone who subscribes to IPTV or any other streaming service should stop now to avoid facing prosecutions themselves.”
The notice, one of the first of its kind aimed at consumers of illegal streaming services, also makes clear that Lancashire Police will monitor subscribers' behaviour and an investigation will be launched if the email is ignored.
Officers say this action is part of an ongoing investigation designed to crackdown on illegal streaming and those profiting from it.
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