'Dodgy boxes': Gardaí dismantle suspected pirate TV operation 'used by 20,000 people nationwide'
GARDAÍ have dismantled a suspected pirate TV operation which could have cost legitimate operators more than €20m annually.
The Garda economic crime investigation unit (ECIU) confirmed it had conducted a number of operations across Cork and seized a significant quantity of electronic equipment.
Gardaí were targeting unlicensed 'set top' boxes which allowed people to access prime TV stations.
The raids followed a lengthy intelligence operation which was focused on Cork but which also involved other counties nationwide.
The cost of the suspected fraud is potentially put at €20m per annum - and could extend to 20,000 people using such unlicensed 'set top' boxes nationwide.
"The searches were carried out by Gardaí from the Cork City division, supported by local detectives, the local Computer Crime Investigation Unit, Cork City and representatives from Virgin Media, Sky TV and Nagra," a Garda spokesperson confirmed.
"A significant amount of electronic equipment and documentation of evidential value was seized."
Gardaí confirmed that no arrests were made.
The seized material will now be examined by ECIU officers and computer crime experts.
Gardaí will then submit a file on the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for determination of what further action, if any, will result.
Such pirate TV operations have become very lucrative given the soaring demand for premium paid TV content.