Jan 152017

Sky Card Share Operator in UK Court

A landscape gardener who earned more than £120,000 via a Sky TV scam might have cost the broadcast giant a whopping £4.8million.

In what’s known as an illegal code-sharing scheme, Gavin Gray obtained decryption details for the network which allowed non-subscribers to view premium channels such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies .

The codes were given to him on the basis he would only use them in his home for personal use.

But a court was told yesterday that he banked more than £120,000 when he began selling them to people online.

Gray, 25, from Bellshill, Lanarkshire, built up a list of 1,800 clients who were paying £5 a month for the service over a four-year period.

Prosecutors estimated the loss to Sky could top £1.2million each year for four years – around £4.8m in total.

The court was told Gray used a number of different forums and websites to attract customers eager to save money.

The entire operation was carried out online.

A raid at his home in July 2014 uncovered a safe containing £44,260 in cash and quantities of digital boxes and pass cards.

At Hamilton Sheriff Court, he admitted setting up the illegal scheme which saw him earn £120,434.77 between January 2010 and July 2014.

He also admitted running a card-sharing service to provide a means of decoding the encrypted programming and to possessing a device to enable circumvention of encrypted satellite broadcasts.

He also confessed to advertising an unauthorised decoder for sale between May and July 2014.

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Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, said: “Clients using the service must have the user name, password, internet address and port number for a card-sharing server entered into their set-top box.

“This was provided to them by the accused.

“No authorisation had been given to the accused to provide access to the broadcasting to others.

“At that time, the full Sky package cost £57 per month.

“The potential monthly loss to Sky as a result was £102,600, which amounts to £1,231,200 per year based on 1,800 clients as claimed by the accused during the search.”

Elspeth Forrest, defending, said: “He is employed as a landscaper and has dealt with this matter responsibly by tendering an early plea of guilty.”

Sheriff Thomas Millar deferred sentence for reports and continued Gray’s bail.

Gray declined to comment.

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