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Pirate radio stations wiped off the air in crackdown raids

PUBLISHED: 02:11 15 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 05 October 2010

One pirate radio station taken off the air

One pirate radio station taken off the air

PIRATE radio stations have been wiped off the air in a crackdown in East London by broadcasting regulators in a joint operation with the local authority. The pirates were using three council tower blocks to broadcast illegally. Now the Town Hall is warning of further raids against illegal operators

Mike Brooke

PIRATE radio stations have been wiped off the air in a crackdown in East London by broadcasting regulators in a joint operation with the local authority.

The pirates were using three council tower blocks in Tower Hamlets to broadcast illegally.

Now the Town Hall is warning of further raids against illegal operators after the crackdown at Sivill House, Anglia House and Brodick House tower blocks in Bethnal Green.

War was declared on the pirates two years ago with a special joint task force of council officers and Ofcom, the broadcasting regulators.

Its first success led to six pirate stations being raided in Whitechapel and Wapping where high-rise blocks of flats were being used as clandestine aerial sites.

The pirate stations are said to be “highly profitable operations” which damage buildings when they put aerials on roofs and wire into electric supplies.

Service workers have been refusing to go on some of the roofs because of the dangers caused by the wiring.

Some properties were even flooded because of damage to the roofs.

Officials also received complaints from tenants who had been threatened by people putting in the pirate installations.

The council installed 24-hour CCTV security to monitor roof hatches in the three blocks to outflank the pirates. The system is now being extended to three more tower blocks.

Illegal broadcasters can cause interference to emergency service frequencies, such as fire and ambulance, as well as air traffic control, says Ofcom. They also interfere with signals from legal radio stations.


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