Landlady illegally showed TV football

A landlady illegally beamed live football matches to customers at her Lowestoft pub after failing to pay for a commercial licence, a court heard yesterday.

A landlady illegally beamed live football matches to customers at her Lowestoft pub after failing to pay for a commercial licence, it has been alleged.

Dawn Burgess, the licensee of Notley's in Royal Thoroughfare, avoided an annual rental charge of £8,652 by using a Sky television system meant for domestic use, Lowestoft Magistrates' Court was told yesterday.

Magistrates heard that an investigator visited the pub on five separate occasions during October and December last year and saw live football being shown.

Burgess, 40, denies five counts of dishonestly receiving a television broadcast to avoid charges.

William Eaglestone, prosecuting for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact), said: “At no time did the pub have an agreement with Sky to show Sky Sports at the time of the five games.

“The fact that these broadcasts were received in the pub shows Mrs Burgess is guilty of the offence because as the licensee, it was her who received these programmes dishonestly with no agreement in place.”

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Mr Eaglestone said an investigator employed on behalf of Fact and Sky gathered evidence against the pub while it showed five games - Chelsea v Barcelona, Crewe v Manchester United, Barnsley v West Bromwich Albion, Everton v Chelsea and Newcastle v Chelsea.

On each occasion, the investigator noted that the Sky coverage on

the pub's television screens did

not show a beer glass logo, used to show a commercial contract had been set up.

Burgess told investigators she did not know Sky was being shown illegally because she had only just taken over financial control of the pub.

Matthew McNiff, defending Burgess, raised a number of points during his cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, including questions to the boss of the investigation firm about how closely his staff followed the terms set out by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act.

Mr McNiff asked Ian Grey, managing director of Acumen Investigation Services: “I assume you know within the acts that you are required to check all lines of inquiry leading to and from the scene?”

Mr Grey conceded his employee had not spoken to members of staff and management, or asked to see the television equipment, but that the evidence was passed on to Sky and Fact for further investigation.

The court also heard that Burgess's former husband Neil Burgess had set up a direct debit arrangement with Sky on November 30, but that because of problems with receiving the viewing card, Notley's was not legally allowed to show the football until January.

However, Mr McNiff claimed the contract between Sky and Notley's would have become active at the time Mr Burgess, who wrote a letter to investigators offering to pay for any unauthorised broadcasting, set up the direct debit.

The trial continues on October 19.

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