Police have carried out 18 raids across Belfast, Londonderry, Dundonald and Banbridge netting them 50 illegal internet streaming devices and over 8,000 cigarettes.
Detectives from Belfast Criminal Investigation Branch carried out the searches in conjunction with HM Revenue and Customs and FACT – the UK’s leading intellectual property protection organisation on Wednesday.
During the searches they seized over 8,000 cigarettes, 2.9 kgs of rolling tobacco, 232 cigars, 50 illegal streaming devices and approximately £5,000 in cash.
One 48 year old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud in the Galliagh area of Londonderry has been bailed pending further enquiries. A 31-year-old man was arrested in the Dundonald area on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and possessing articles for use in fraud. He is currently helping with police enquiries.
Detective Inspector Natalie McNally said buying goods which have been purchased without paying duty means that there is less money available for health and education. Profits made from such goods are also used to fund other forms of crime, she added.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT said: “ Many people view piracy as a victimless crime, however consumers need to realise that illegal streaming devices offering unlawful access to TV, sport and films threaten our creative industries and the 1.9 million people in the UK working in them.”
Using such devices to stream content without the right permissions is breaking the law, but they also pose a fire and electrical risk, as well as often exposing users to malware, viruses and explicit content, he added.