Ofcom strike takes out 20 pirate broadcasters

Conshus, Jiggy FM, Rude and Shine are just a few of the 20 pirate radio stations that have been taken off air following a crackdown in the four London boroughs that account for two-thirds of the capital's illegal broadcasters

The joint operation by police and UK communications regulator crackdown in Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Islington resulted in three arrests, one studio raid and the removal of 22 transmitters. More than 20 letters were sent to nightclubs that have advertised events on illegal stations.

Ofcom estimates that there are around 150 pirate radio operators in the UK, half of which broadcast across London and the South East. More than 30 are based in the four boroughs targeted. Last year the regulator carried out 900 operations, which resulted in 37 people being convicted of offences related to illegal broadcasting.

Robert Thelen-Bartholomew, Ofcom's director of field operations, said firm and swift action was always taken to remove pirate stations from the air. "Illegal broadcasters can cause serious interference to safety of life services such as the fire brigade and air traffic control, as well as legitimate radio stations," he said. "We work closely with local authorities to ensure that this problem is tackled at source for the benefit of the community."

According to Islington councillor Terry Stacy, operators are sometimes linked to drug dealing and serious crime. "Illegal broadcasters can put lives at risk by interfering with vital emergency equipment. [They] damage council property and make the lives of our residents hell," he added.

Image: Londoners will have to learn to live without Jiggy FM

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