Premier League

Suppliers of illegal football jailed and fined £1m

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Jailed and fined: illegal broadcasting of Premier League football
Jailed and fined: illegal broadcasting of Premier League football

Related tags Premier league football Crime

Two fraudsters who supplied illegal broadcasts of Premier League football to pubs have been jailed and ordered to pay close to £1m.

Simon Hopkins and Leon Passlow, who were behind the company Digicams, were ordered to pay a £992,000 confiscation order at Guildford Crown Court, having previously been convicted of supplying systems that allowed their customers to view live Premier League football without making appropriate payments.

Their scam involved obtaining Sky and other viewing cards using false names and addresses and selling them on to commercial businesses including hotels, pubs and betting shops.

They reportedly enjoyed lavish lifestyles with the proceeds of their crimes, driving expensive cars and buying thousands of pounds’ worth of jewellery.

The pair had already been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud between January 2008 and September 2012, following a prosecution brought by the Premier League, working together with Surrey Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

'Strong warning'

Director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), Kieron Sharp, said: “This should serve as a strong warning that, ultimately, intellectual property crime does not pay.

“Hopkins and Passlow made hundreds of thousands of pounds through their criminal enterprise, allowing them to live lavish lifestyles and believing they would never get caught.”

Should Hopkins and Passlow not pay the £992,000 confiscation order within three months, they will receive an extra seven years jail time in addition to their current three-and-half-year sentence.

After serving his sentence, Passlow, an Australian citizen, will be deported back to Australia.


A Premier League spokesman said: “This case provides further evidence that companies and individuals that illegally supply Premier League football to pubs and commercial premises risk jail time for doing so.

“Injunctions and significant costs awards are regularly being made in the Premier League’s favour in the courts, and several suppliers have been jailed for illegally making systems available to commercial premises.

Owners and operators of hotels, pubs, betting shops are advised to contact Sky Sports and BT Sport because they are the only broadcasters authorised to broadcast live Premier League football in the UK.


Detective sergeant Chris Rambour of the Surrey Police Economic Crime Unit, added: "Confiscation orders are often the final piece of the jigsaw following a conviction and, where applicable, provide for victims to be compensated for their losses.

"Seeking a confiscation order following a conviction is a lengthy, complex process which can take many months but these figures show that the hard work, tenacity and determination of the team has most definitely paid off.

“Securing these confiscation orders follows a complex investigation that involved working closely with our partners to ensure that these criminals were put behind bars. I hope this demonstrates our determination and reassures the public that we will leave no stone unturned to put offenders before the courts.”

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