A FALMOUTH man who admitted illegal streaming of live broadcasts has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Steven Patrick Thomas Underwood, aged 34, of Marlborough Road, was sentenced at Truro Crown Court today, after pleading guilty to two offences last month.

The first offence is for infringing copyright by communicating a work to the public, knowing or having reason to believe that he infringed copyright and intended to make a gain for himself or another person.

It is contrary to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The second offence was for the streaming of live broadcasts with the intention to defraud creditors, which is contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.

They relate to a period between December 1, 2016 and January 20, 2019, in Redruth.

The charges followed an investigation by Cornwall Council Trading Standards into illegal television streaming services.

Underwood, also known as Steven Isaac, previously of Killiers Court, Illogan, was found to have sold around £400,000 worth of illegal streaming subscriptions that enabled users to view pay-TV without the permission of, and without making any appropriate payment to, the relevant broadcasters and content owners.

The court heard that Underwood’s activity was initially detected by copyright protection agency FACT and that the trail eventually led to an address in Cornwall.

On Wednesday, January 16 officers from the Police Regional Organised Crime Unit, FACT and Cornwall Council Trading Standards executed an Entry Warrant at Mr Underwood’s home.

A number of devices including an iPhone, tower computer and laptop computer were seized. These were forensically examined and compelling evidence of unlawful activity was recovered.

Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, said: “We are constantly working to remove sellers of illegal streaming subscriptions from the market and bring them to justice.

The message is clear - if you are tempted to sell access to content that is not licensed or owned by you, you risk facing a criminal conviction.

"We encourage consumers to use legitimate services that are safe to use and ensure that content creators are properly remunerated.”

Paul Masters, Cornwall Council’s strategic director for neighbourhoods, adds: “Stealing intellectual property or copyright is as serious as other more tangible thefts. Our Trading Standards officers will always seek to protect Cornwall’s consumers from being duped by copyright fraud.

"Only buy streaming services from a trusted source, and if in doubt contact our Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 for reassurance.”

Judge Robert Linford sentenced Underwood to a 12-month jail term, suspended for 24 months. He must comply with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was made the subject of a £10 confiscation order.