Liverpool Sky TV Box cheat is jailed in UK first
THE first person in the country to be prosecuted for using sophisticated technology to illegally access Sky channels has been jailed for four months.
Keith Cairns, 45, from Croxteth not only sold unauthorised decoder boxes but also charged his customers a monthly subscription fee - and if they did not pay they would be cut off.
Miles Bennett, prosecuting, told Liverpool crown court that Cairns had been selling the unauthorised decoder boxes which contained software enabling the user to access Sky channels without having a decoder card and by using the internet.
The software had been adapted so that the box believed the correct card details had been inserted to decrypt the encrypted signal.
Cairns involvement came to light when an under-cover BSkyB investigator was at a computer market in Manchester.
He saw Cairns running a stall on which thre was a television broadcasting a football match. Cairns explained the signal was being decoded through a server which was part of a card sharing network.
When the investigator expressed interest Cairns said he did not have any with him and arranged for him to go to Cairns' home. At the house Cairns sold him a set-top box and one month's subscription for £165.
He later took out a further two months subscription while investigations continued and on June 18 officials from FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) raided Cairns' home in Ashwater Road and seized four decoder boxes
They also seized his computer and emails from his various customers were found.
Cairns charged his customers £15 a month subscription and paid his supplier, Rockyz, £10 a month.
Mr Bennett said it was estimated that over six months Cairns had made up to £5,000 in sales and subscriptions.
Cairns pleaded guilty to two charges involving selling unauthorised internet satellite receiver boxes and possessing four of them.
Peter Killen, defending, said that Cairns was a hard working father of four. He is a plasterer but had always been interested in satellite and computer technology.
Jailing Cairns, who has no previous convictions, Judge William George said, "It is clear this is a considerable operation in which many people have become involved. "
He told Cairns that he accepted he had not been at the top of pyramid but had been retailing the stolen technology and only a custodial sentence was justified.
After the hearing Eddy Levinten, FACT's head of communications, said, "The sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offence and sends a clear signal to those who may intend to act in a similar manner."