Gang jailed for sophisticated £60m scam providing chipped set-top boxes enabling free Virgin Media TV

Six men apart of a gang which supplied set-top boxes to thousands of people to enable them to watch Virgin Media’s pay-TV service free of charge have been jailed.

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The mastermind behind the scam, Mahesh Tailor, 51, from Leicester, was the owner of Tailor Made Circuits in Thurmaston, a printed circuit board manufacturer and figured out a way to get around the encryption surrounding cable TV channels supplied by Virgin Media.

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He imported thousands of set-top boxes from the Far East and sold them for up to £180 each. He reached customers by contacting them on internet forums and even had his own website, purely linked to the sale of boxes. He also sold the boxes in bulk to other businesses around the country.

He also sold the boxes in bulk to other businesses and people around the country.

The court heard how Tailor organised people around the country to assist in the set-up of the network so the service was available nationwide. It was set up to communicate with servers overseas which then allowed owners of the set top boxes in England to receive channels via the internet, without paying a subscription to Virgin Media.

During the investigation Leicestershire Police recovered a container with 5,000 set-top boxes inside and it’s believed that Tailor had already sold multiple similar consignments.

Detective Constable Amrat Bhagwan investigated the case. He said: “Officers were deployed at various locations across the country and the network was taken down, rendering the boxes useless.

“When we raided Tailor’s home, we found £250,000 in cash in various rooms. There were similar amounts held in his business bank accounts.

“The boxes were imported from the Far East and documentation showed that Tailor claimed that they were satellite receivers and even paid importation tax on them. He did everything in his power to stop himself appearing on the radar.”

Mahesh Tailor was jailed for six years and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.

Five other members of the sophisticated scam were also jailed with sentences ranging from 18 months to 10 months.

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