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Pirate radio rooftop ban

Pirate banA man has been banned from every roof top in London after he pleaded guilty to installing pirate radio equipment on a tower block in the city.

Kieran O’Sullivan received the antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) following a successful prosecution by Ofcom.

He also received an 18 week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, a three month curfew, a £1,200 fine, and had his radio equipment seized.

Ofcom worked with Camden Council and police to secure the prosecution following complaints from residents about Freeze FM operating from estates in Hampstead.

Emergency services

Residents had complained about pirate radio operators using roof tops to install equipment, which caused a nuisance to residents and damaged council property.

Pirate radio stations are a particular problem in big cities, particularly London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

They can create serious consequences by interfering with the communications systems used by the ambulance, fire and police services, as well as air traffic control.

For example, their illegal broadcasts can cause problems for fire engines trying to speak to their control rooms – which could then cause serious delays in getting to fires.


Pirate broadcasters can also drown out legitimate radio stations.

Ofcom is responsible for tackling illegal broadcasting and we monitor the airwaves 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and work closely with the police to crackdown on the problem.

This involves raiding studios and taking them off air, seizing equipment and bringing the culprits to court.

It’s important to remember that anyone involved with illegal broadcasting is committing an offence.

Prison sentence and fines

That includes someone who allows their premises to be used or advertises on a station.

The maximum penalties, at Crown Court, are an unlimited fine and two years in prison.

But there is a way you can take to the airwaves without breaking the law.

Hundreds of community radio stations have been successfully set up since 2004.

Community stations

Typically covering small geographical areas of up to a 5km radius, they can cater for whole communities or for different areas of interest and provide opportunities for people to get involved in local broadcasting.

More than 8 million listeners can now tune into community stations the length and breadth of the UK.

And over the past five years thousands of people have been able to get their first foothold in broadcasting by volunteering at these stations.

As community stations are run on a not-for-profit basis, each year they can apply for extra government funding to help meet the costs of running a station.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides the money for the Community Radio Fund, which is managed by Ofcom.

How to report illegal broadcasting activity

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