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  1. ITV Report

Duo jailed for illegally selling access to football coverage

Fraudsters who illegally sold on access to Premier League football coverage have been jailed following a joint investigation by Surrey Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft.

Simon Hopkins and Leon Passlow were sentenced at Guildford Crown Court having earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud between January 2008 and September 2012.

Simon Hopkins has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison Credit: Surrey Police
Leon Passlow has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison Credit: Surrey Police

Hopkins and Passlow ran a company in Bagshot which obtained hundreds of domestic use only BskyB cards, using hundreds of fake names, and long addresses in an attempt for their scam to go unnoticed.

Those cards were then sold on to commercial premises, including pubs, betting shops and yachts.

"This was a complex investigation which involved working closely with our partners to see that these criminals were put behind bars.

"This was a carefully planned and executed operation which has required some painstaking investigation by our officers and partners. I hope this demonstrates our determination and reassures the public that we will leave no stone unturned to put offenders before the courts.

"We will now be pursuing further action under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate any assets acquired by the defendants as a result of these offences.”

– Detective Sergeant Chris Rambour from Surrey Police's Economic Crime Unit

"A three and a half year custodial sentence sends a clear message: supplying systems which enable unauthorised broadcasts of Premier League football to be made in commercial premises is illegal.

"The supplier in this case – Digicams – was fraudulently selling cards intended for home use to commercial premises to enable unauthorised broadcasts of Premier League football.

"This judgement serves as a reminder to the pub industry, and other businesses which show live football, that Sky Sports and BT Sport are the only authorised broadcasters of live Premier League football in the UK.

"We would like to thank Surrey Police's Economic Crime Unit, and FACT, as their skilled investigation made the successful prosecution of this complex and large scale fraud possible.”

– Premier League Spokesman

Hopkins, 47, of Park Road in Stoke Poges and Passlow who's 58, and of Broomfield Drive in Ascot were both sentenced to three and a half years each.