Published: 09:55, 12 September 2019
| Updated: 14:30, 12 September 2019
A publican who showed TV football matches without authority has had to pay nearly £7,000 in fines and costs.
The showing of Sky Sports games was without a valid commercial agreement.
Philip Bailey, now formerly of The Alma in West Street, Deal, was convicted in his absence of four offences.
These were all of dishonest reception of a television transmission with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge.
Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
Bailey was fined £1,000 per offence and was also ordered to pay full costs of £2,710.78 and a £100 Victim Surcharge, totalling £6,810.78.
The sentencing was at Folkestone Magistrates Court on Monday, September 2.
The offences happened on March 3, March 31, April 14 and April 20 this year.
The prosecution was brought by FACT, originally named the Federation Against Copyright Theft.
This is an organisation that protects the content, product and interests of the film and television broadcasting industries.
It says that licensees that show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement ultimately risk criminal prosecution.
Stephen Gerrard, FACT’s prosecuting manager, said after the case: “Despite continual warnings we are still finding a small number of licensees who persist in illegally showing Sky broadcasts in their premises.
"FACT’s message to these individuals is, you will be caught and prosecuted. As numerous cases have shown, we successfully pursue and prosecute dishonest licenses who are then faced with substantial fines, costs and a criminal record.”
George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, added: “It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.
“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hardworking Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity”.
Sky says that working with FACT forms a key part of its commitment to protecting pubs and clubs who invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions.
It says it is committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK.
Any licensee affected by these issues can report suspected illegal broadcasting confidentially at the website pubpiracy.com.
The Alma is under new management under the name of Hayley Vickers.
A spokesman for the pub says that she took over on August 9 the day after Mr Bailey left the pub.
The spokesman added that the Alma now has official BT and Sky sports packages.
The Mercury has made attempts to contact Philip Bailey to give him a chance to comment.
Read more: All the latest news from Deal
More by this authorSam Lennon