Arrest in UK Illegal Streaming Services Crackdown

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • A UK man has been arrested for accepting cryptocurrencies for preloaded streaming sticks
  • British police have executed a search warrant in Widnes, finding devices, drugs, and crypto wallets
  • Sales of preloaded streaming sticks have increased as subscription service prices have risen

A UK man who accepted cryptocurrencies for streaming sticks preloaded with software for watching subscription services was arrested in a crackdown on the practice. British police executed a search warrant on a property in Widnes, northwest England, where they found dozens of such devices as well as drugs and crypto wallets. Sales of common streaming sticks preloaded with illegal access to streaming services have increased in recent years as the price of such services has increased.

Drugs and Crypto Seized

The arrest followed a coordinated raid by the Cheshire Police Cyber Crime Unit, supported by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Conducted on Wednesday, July 3, at around 9:30 am, the raid revealed a cache of modified streaming devices alongside computers, phones, digital satellite television boxes, and Amazon Fire TV Sticks. 

Additionally, both cryptocurrency and cash were confiscated, along with a small quantity of drugs.

This case highlights the use of cheap TV sticks in illegal streaming activities. These devices, when modified or “jailbroken,” can provide access to unauthorized content such as premium TV channels, live sports, and the latest movies. Modifying these devices, a process also known as “sideloading,” involves installing apps not available through the official Amazon App Store. Although not illegal per se, this practice becomes unlawful when used to stream copyrighted content without authorization.

Devices Preloaded

Illegal streaming services often capitalize on this by selling pre-modified Firesticks or offering guides to help users install unauthorized IPTV apps on their devices. Such devices are commonly available online, but it seems that the individual was also selling them privately, given the cryptocurrency holdings.

This arrest in Widnes is part of a broader crackdown on illegal streaming across the UK. Authorities are increasingly targeting these operations to curb the distribution of unauthorized content and protect the entertainment industry from substantial financial losses.