A pub landlord who illegally screened Sky Sports to customers has been fined more than £18,000.

Thomas Conneely, who owned the now shut Dick Whittington in South Oxhey, showed Sky televised football matches at the Prestwick Road pub without a valid subscription.

Conneely, who did not appear in court, was convicted at St Albans Magistrates Court on Monday of three offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission with the intent of avoiding payment.

He was fined £3,000 per offence and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £9,787.18 plus a victim surcharge of £120, totalling £18,907.18.

Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK through a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business. Anyone who breaches this can be prosecuted.

FACT, who protect the content of TV and film industries, prosecuted Conneely at St Albans Magistrates Court on Monday, January 20.

FACT’s prosecuting manager Stephen Gerrard said: “Our aim is to help create an effective deterrent to publicans who endeavour to fraudulently show Sky content on their premises and FACT will continue to protect the intellectual property rights of its clients by pursuing those who continue to break the law.”

This is the second time Conneely has been convicted of an offence under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

He was also convicted in 2015 at Watford Magistrates Court in relation to offences committed at the Partridge Pub.

The magistrates took this into account in their sentence.

George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky, said: “It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties.”

Cllr Martin Trevett, chairman of the Three Rivers District Council licensing committee, added: “Sky actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect their customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity. We will continue to support and assist them so we can stop people from abusing the law.”

Any licensee can report suspected illegal broadcasting confidentially at www.pubpiracy.com