Criminal gangs selling access to all of Sky’s TV channels for knock-down prices have been busted by a BBC investigation.
The probe broadcast on Inside Out was led by Guy Lynn, who uncovered an illegal operation running out of Golsat, an electronics shop in Upton Park, London and a separate operation based in south London.
Customers were able to sign up for premium Sky TV subscriptions for as little as £10/month and buy set-top boxes for as little as £150.
To get all of the Sky channels the legitimate way, you’ll pay £75.25/month for everything including Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports and Sky Movies plus sports and movies in HD. The basic Sky+HD box is bundled free, but if you wanted the newer box with a 2TB drive that would set you back £149.
With secret cameras the BBC filmed Venezuelan satellite installer Julio Markowitz fitting a ‘Sky Box’ which cost £250 and provided access to all the Sky channels for a year.
Markowitz boasts on camera of having over 150 customers, which would have earned him £37,500 on installations alone. When confronted with secretly recorded footage of his illegal actions, Markowitz abruptly leaves, claiming not to know anything.
But it’s not just the actions of Markowitz and others which are illegal. Customers buying these kinds of services themselves are also liable for prosecution.
A Sky spokesperson told Recombu: “Watching Sky’s pay-TV services without paying is theft. We will continue to protect millions of legitimate Sky customers by supporting legal action against those who seek to access our products and services illegally.”
The pirates seem to think otherwise. An unnamed employee of Golsat assures undercover reporters that customers don’t get arrested and there’s nothing to worry about.
The BBC investigators handed all the footage and illegal hardware over to the authorities. It is not yet known if Markowitz or any Golsat employees have been charged.
Recombu found a listing for Golsat at AllInLondon.co.uk. We attempted to contact them on the phone, but the line had been disconnected.
In 2012, a pirate operation selling hacked Virgin Media set-top boxes was busted, with ringleader Paul Hartrick jailed and ordered to pay back £7,000.
The episode will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer until Monday, February 17.