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Ofcom fines pirate supplier

Two directors from Broadcast Warehouse Limited in Croydon have pleaded guilty to supplying illegal radio equipment to pirate radio stations in Ireland and the West Midlands.

The company and its two directors were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling over £90,000 at Croydon Magistrates Court last week. This is the largest sum ever awarded to Ofcom in a court case involving the sale of illegal equipment.

During the investigation, Ofcom discovered that transmitters which contained illegal components from Broadcast Warehouse Limited inside them were being used by two illegal radio stations to broadcast from the Republic of Ireland across the border into Northern Ireland.

This is thought to be the start of Ofcom's new approach to tackling the on-going problems of pirate broadcasting, by targeting suppliers. Oddly, Broadcast Warehouse are on Ofcom's published list of suppliers, and provide many facilities to new community radio stations which are in the process of setting up.

Paul Mercer, head of investigations at Ofcom, said: “It is essential that our airwaves are kept free of interference, as they are used for all modern communications including systems used by the emergency services and aviation. Ofcom will take firm and swift action against companies that breach the rules and endanger public safety.”

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