Seven Wearside pubs and bars have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs to the Premier League after being caught screening unauthorised games.
The Wessington in Donwell Village, Washington was ordered to pay to pay £8,901; city centre venues Ttonic, Chaplins, Café Purple, Arizona, and The Point, all of which are under common ownership, were ordered to pay £10,000, and Gatsby, in Park Lane, was hit with a bill for £7,000.
The seven are among 16 venues as far apart as Tyneside and Kent that have been ordered to pay a total of more than £92,000 for screening games.
In a separate development, the owner of a supplier of illegal systems to pubs has been ordered to pay £125,000 following a confiscation hearing as part of a private prosecution instigated by the Premier League.
The money will be paid to the Treasury, which will pass half of it onto the police and other statutory bodies involved in the investigation which led to the prosecution.
Several of the pubs in the North East were using sophisticated logo masking technology to attempt to prevent the Premier League from taking legal action against them.
This approach was unsuccessful, and the Premier League has warned other pubs that are approached by suppliers offering similar technology of the possible consequences.
A Premier League spokesman said: “These cases provide further evidence for the pub trade that using illegal foreign broadcast systems to show Premier League football is extremely risky.
“Injunctions and significant costs awards are regularly being made in the Premier League’s favour in the High Court, and two suppliers of systems which facilitated illegal broadcasts being made in pubs have been jailed in the last year.
“We would advise all publicans to ignore the lies peddled by suppliers who make false claims about the legality of foreign broadcasts of our matches, and to contact Sky Sports and BT Sport as they are both authorised to show live Premier League football in commercial premises in the UK.”