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Police Scotland has met with leading broadcasters amid growing concern about the provision of illegally streamed football matches in homes and pubs.

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Illegal streaming of sport is on the rise. Picture; John Devlin

Illegal streaming of sport is on the rise. Picture; John Devlin

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The force warned that criminal gangs have moved into the area which has grown as counterfeit services become “normalised” among fans tired of paying for legal subscription services.

Officers met with representatives of Sky, BT Sport, the English Premier League, Celtic TV and others at a conference in Tulliallan, Fife, on Tuesday.

According to industry analysis, the illegal use of internet protocol television (IPTV) has risen by 143 per cent in the past year.

Police Scotland said criminals had moved into the illegal streaming of football and other pay TV services as it seen as being a lower risk.

Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, Police Scotland’s lead on counterfeiting, said: “Crime groups and criminals around Scotland are diversifying into what’s seen as less risk areas.

“There’s also a public perception that this is a commodity which is victimless. Prevention is a big part of this so we need to change attitudes and behaviours of people that this damages the creative industries in Scotland as well.

“This is now seen as being normalised. A family will sit and watch one of these IPTV devices.”

Last month 25-year-old Gavin Gray was given a 12-month restriction of liberty order after admitting fraud offences that enabled others to watch pay TV channels without an official viewing card.

The first conviction of its type in Scotland, it followed an operation by police, Sky, Virgin Media and others in 2014.

When police raided Gray’s home in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, they seized £44,500 hidden in a safe in the loft and later seized £80,000 from his bank account.

Today’s seminar at the Scottish Police College was also attended by Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Intellectual Property Office.