Hornchurch man in illegal TV subscription scam
A Hornchurch man sold illegal TV subcriptions worth �1million after pretending to run a global network with bases around the world.
Nicholas Pulsford, 43, of Bellevue Road, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years for his part in the illegal operation.
His business partner, Steven Kaye, 37, of Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, who broadcast the signal from his back garden, and Pulsford both pleaded guilty at Southampton Crown Court to possessing an unauthorised decoder. Kaye received the same sentence as his partner.
Kaye ran the illegal operation from a spare room at his �330,000 home. He beamed channels such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies around the UK using a trampoline-sized dish which was balanced on his garden shed.
It was so big it could even be seen poking over the top of his house on Google street view, Southampton Crown Court heard.
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Kaye bought a legitimate personal subscription for Sky and ESPN and used a computer to decode the signal before relaying it to customers. He charged just �50 for a three-month subscription and sold receiver boxes which could be plugged into an existing satellite dish.
The packages would usually cost around �65.50 a month if bought legitimately. But the boxes Kaye supplied were found to be cloned “sub-standard” devices which he had imported from a contact in China. Many of them were returned by frustrated customers, unable to get them to work, the court heard.
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Prosecutor James Kellam described Kaye and Pulsford as “backdoor entrepreneurs”.
When the pair were caught in April 2010 they had just under 1,000 people signed up to their enterprise, which had been running for about two years. The pair were busted when Sky investigators stumbled across the company’s suspicious deals and passed their details to police. They were also ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and pay �1,125 each in costs.