The owner and operator of a pirate streaming service, and supplier of illicit streaming devices that provided illegal access to Premier League football, has been jailed.
John Haggerty, the owner of Blyth-based Evolution Trading, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and dishonestly obtaining services. He was jailed for five years and three months.
Evolution Trading, run by Haggerty and his wife Mary Gilfillan, who was also convicted of fraud offences and given a two-year suspended sentence, sold more than 8,000 illegal devices that were loaded with add-ons to enable people to view illegal streams of Premier League football.
It also created and sold access to its own illegal streaming service – infusum.tv
Between March 2013 and July 2015, the operators of Evolution generated more than £750,000 through their illegal activity.
Haggerty had multiple passports in different names, set up an offshore dummy company in Nevis to hide the true purpose of his business and, in collusion with his wife, supplied the Immigration Service with false documents to sponsor an Egyptian national who maintained the illegal streaming service.
Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb, said: “This case demonstrates how seriously the courts are dealing with criminals involved in the supply of illicit streaming devices and services that provide illegal access to Premier League football and other popular content. The Premier League is currently engaged in one of the biggest and most successful anti-piracy programmes in the world and its own investigations, along with those by Northumberland Trading Standards and FACT, have helped bring these criminals to justice.”
He said: “The ability that Premier League clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums and to support communities and schools, is predicated on being able to market, sell and protect commercial rights. This makes the protection of our copyright hugely important to the future health of English football and beyond, something we are pleased the courts continue to recognise with judgments like this one.”