Greater Manchester Police piracy operation recognised at FACT Excellence Awards

Greater Manchester Police has been recognised for an operation targeting intellectual property rights that saw more then £250,000 in criminal cash recovered.

Financial fraud investigator Keith Graham and Inspector Andy Torkington both received FACT Excellence Awards for their part in Operation Crawler. Former GMP Detective Constable Paul Bayliss, who has now moved to West Midlands Police, also received an award for the operation at the ceremony held in Birmingham on 19 April.

Keith received his award for recovering £258,000 of criminal cash following a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing in September 2022. The money was reclaimed after Michael Hornung, 38, of Tameside, was sentenced in his absence to four and a half years in prison for selling set-top boxes giving illegal access to satellite TV in June last year.

Keith, a former detective at GMP, said: “This prosecution came about as part of Operation Crawler between FACT and GMP. I work in the Economic Crime Unit as a financial investigator and my primary role is to identify benefits of criminality and confiscate them, including property and cash. Working with FACT and the National Crime Agency, we identified Hornung’s criminal benefit from his illegal activity was £258,642 and a confiscation order was made in that sum at the POCA hearing.”

In the past year, to March 2023, the ECU has recovered around £6m in criminal assets and cash.

FACT was formed in 1983 to protect the content, product and interests of the film and television industries. FACT’s Excellence Awards recognise the ‘exceptional efforts’ of police and other law enforcement individuals across the UK for their support in the fight against piracy.

Photo credit: FACT Investigations Manager, Princy Madanayake, Paul Bayliss, Keith Graham and FACT CEO Kieron Sharp at the ceremony in Birmingham.