1. ITV Report

Internet 'pirate' jailed for four years

Video 'pirate' Anton Vickerman Photo: PA

An internet pirate from Gateshead has been jailed for running a website allowing films and TV shows to be downloaded illegally.

38 year old Anton Vickerman was jailed for four years at Newcastle Crown Court.

He had been earning £35,00 a month from adverts on his website, surfthechannel.com.

It received 400,000 visitors a day and had appeared in the world's top 500 most popular sites.

Vickerman was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud in June, following an eight-week trial.

His 39 year old wife, Kelly, was cleared of the same charges.

Anton Vickerman's illegal downloading website Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Vickerman employed programmers around the world to source pirated material elsewhere on the web.

They then found the codes needed, to gain access to what had already been illegally copied.

Visitors to Vickerman's site, whose servers moved around the world, were able to select links to a menu of more than 5,000 films and TV shows.The site was run through a limited company, Scopelight Ltd, and the profits were funnelled into a bank account in Latvia.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft said the conviction was a "landmark" case.

"This was a criminal conspiracy for criminal profit to fund a criminal lifestyle and Vickerman is now paying the price."

– Kieron Sharp, Director General, Federation Against Copyright Theft