A number of properties in Cork have been searched by gardaí investigating the activities of an organised group involved in the distribution of fraudulent television cable boxes.

Gardaí estimate that the fraud under investigation amounts to as much as €20 million annually.

As many as 20,000 people nationwide are understood to be using these type of fraudulent 'set top' boxes without legitimate TV subscriptions.

Gardaí say a significant amount of electronic equipment and documentation of "evidential value" was seized.

The searches were carried out by gardaí as well as representatives from Virgin Media, Sky TV and Nagra.

There were no arrests made but gardaí say investigations are on-going.