A GRANDAD who made £360,000 from selling illicit set top boxes has been jailed for two years.

Paul Boswell, aged 56, illegally modified the boxes so viewers could access digital TV subscription channels for free.

Virgin Media’s security department had been investigating Boswell, of Leighton Drive, Leigh, after learning he was selling the boxes at a computer fair.

He was arrested by police in March last year and his house was later searched where 254 set-top boxes were recovered, along with nearly £4,000 in cash, three computers and financial documents.

Boswell, a father of four and grandfather of 11 and former managing director of a metal finishing firm, pleaded guilty to selling unauthorised decoders.

Ari Alibhai, prosecuting told Liverpool Crown Court that the fraud deprived the industry of millions of pounds and caused customers to pay higher monthly charges.

Following the hearing, Police Inspector Peter Clarke said: “I would urge the public to be aware that using set-top boxes that have been illegally modified to receive digital TV subscription channels for free is a serious criminal offence, and officers are continuing inquiries to speak with those who still continue to do so.

“Anyone receiving channels that should be paid for are at risk of being prosecuted.”

Malcolm Davies, Virgin Media’s head of fraud and security, said: “This should act as a serious warning to others to steer clear of this type of crime.

“We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with all the police forces throughout the UK to prosecute individuals connected with this type of TV fraud.”