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Top judge raps Met for making a deal to help Virgin Media

# 31 January 2014, 10:03 by Chris T

Virgin Media has come under fire from Britain’s top judge over a plan which saw it agree to share a compensation payout with the Metropolitan Police, in exchange for help with a private prosecution.

Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, said in a ruling that Virgin Media’s behaviour “did in fact provide an incentive for the police to devote resources to assisting Virgin in their claim for compensation and gave rise to a perception that their independence was being compromised”.

VM said it was losing £144 million revenue a year for three years because of fraudsters selling set-top boxes that allowed people to access VM’s cable TV services without paying for them.

It pursued the fraudsters in a private prosecution but secured help from the Metropolitan Police in getting search warrants and securing the arrests of suspects. It then agreed to hand over 25% of any money recovered via the courts, to the police. Later, VM dropped its bid to claim compensation but in any case paid the Met £4,000 towards the cost of police overtime pay.

In a statement Virgin Media said: “The courts have upheld both the conviction and the right to pursue confiscation proceedings. The court recognised there was no evidence of any abuse of process.”

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