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February 5, 2011

Starview cardshare server busted in Derbyshire

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by Brian Turner

Three men have been arrested in Derbyshire on suspicion of trying to defraud Virgin Media, through use of a large number of modified cable boxes.

A Starview card share server, able to deliver subscription cable TV programming for free to the boxes, is also rumoured to have been shut down in connection with with the arrests.

Anthony Ginnivan, Melvyn Howard and Jong You were charged at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Friday, after a police raid at Fernwood Close, Littleover, on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Andrea Charity said that 44,000 modified cable boxes were said to be involved, though did not state how many of these had been sold directly.

The busted operation is rumoured to have involved the large scale sale of modified Starview boxes, connected to a Starview server on a subscription basis.

This would allow buyers to access premium TV content from Virgin Media without having to pay for it. However, they would need to pay the accused a smaller monthly fee to access the server providing the free TV.

While the Starview server was said to be located in Asia, and therefore outside the direct jurisdiction of UK law enforcement, it appears to have been shut down anyway.

Detective Sergeant Graham Prince, said: “We have been working closely with Virgin Media as part of an investigation into TV fraud. It is alleged that this is a key part of an operation to defraud Virgin Media.”

Malcolm Davies, Virgin Media’s head of fraud and security said: “We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with all the police forces throughout the UK to prosecute individuals connected with this type of TV fraud.”


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