Dodgy boxes and chipped set ups are nothing new, and we all know someone who flat out refuses to pay to watch any kind of live entertainment or new film.
But while most tend to think of it as a victimless crime and not to be taken seriously, they are very wrong.
In 2021, Paul Faulkner was sentenced to 16 months in prison for watching and providing unauthorised sporting streams, while Stephen Millington was imprisoned for 30 months after sharing his Netflix login to thousands of people.
And now, police are set to visit 1,000 homes this week as part of a huge crackdown on illegal streaming.
You can almost hear an audible gulp from people up and down the country waiting for a knock at their door, can't you?
Using a huge database, police have managed to narrow their investigations down to a specific group of people who have been involved in the criminal activity.
This particular operation is targeted at those who have been watching Premier League matches and European football, as well as other sports and movies illegally.
Those who receive a visit for a bobby could face prosecution.
It comes off the back of calls from major broadcasters like Sky and Amazon to put and end to the plague on their industry.
And the operation has been led by the police and FACT, an organisation that specialises in piracy and illegal streaming.
Detective Inspector Matt McNellis, of West Mercia’s Cyber Crime Specialist Operation, said it's only a matter of time before gangs are caught and their operations stopped.
He said: “We are able to deploy cutting-edge digital tactics to identify and detect people who break the law before carrying out enforcement activity in concert with our partners.
“Often, illegal streaming is used to fund Serious Organised Crime and West Mercia Cybercrime Unit is committed to interdicting this source of criminal revenue and reducing the harm organised crime groups can do to our communities.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said those who use illegal content also put themselves at risk.
"Accessing films, TV series and live sports events from unauthorised sources is illegal, can expose consumers to risks such as data theft and malware, and can help fund organised criminal groups," he said.
FACT Chief Executive, Kieron Sharp, added: “We would like to thank the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), West Mercia Police, and other police forces across the country, for their support to help ensure that the public are made aware of the dangers of using illegal streaming services and, more importantly, that they understand that there is the risk of criminal prosecution."
Featured Image Credit: Oleg Elkov/Alamy/Les Gibbon/Alamy
- Warning To Fans As Illegal Streaming Device Supplier Ordered To Pay Back £1 Million To Premier League
- Former Premier League footballer Anthony Stokes charged after police discovered drugs during driving incident
- Instagram influencer jailed after attempting to steal £100m from Premier League club
- Ex-Premier League Footballer Is Now A Jet2 Pilot After Retiring From Game Aged 27