Police track rise of pirate radio
Pirate radio stations are booming across the UK, but so are police efforts to catch the perpetrators.
Some 707 stations were raided in 2007, with 881 targeted in 2008, and police say they have a 100% conviction rate.
The BBC's Ben Ando says certain songs may provide code for drug deals and some stations publicise illegal raves.
FM producer Ray Gambeno defended pirate radio: "We reach out to people
in the community in a way mainstream radio can't".
There are about 160 UK pirate stations.
majority are in London, where they are often based in makeshift studios
constructed from plywood - with old carpet laid down to aid sound
Paul Mercer, of radio regulator Ofcom, says
pirate stations often play havoc with the life-saving work of ambulance
and fire crews.
He said: "Last year we received 41
complaints from the emergency services and on each occasion Ofcom staff
were called to take action against those pirate radio stations to
remove their interference."
Generally, pirate broadcasters
sell advertising and charge DJs a fee to appear on air. They often
install antennae illegally on tower blocks.
Southall, of the London and Quadrant Housing Trust, said: "They break
down doors, smash windows, break the actual lifts erecting this
"Intimidating threats are made to people and it makes a lot of residents' life hell."
FM producer Ray Gambeno defended pirate radio, saying: "We reach out to
people in the community in a way mainstream radio can't. You get a
sense of warmth."
But Ben Ando says pirate radio is no longer about well-meaning amateur enthusiasts giving city youth a voice.