Prompted by some recent posts on ybw forum I ended up wasting far too much time writing the following and thought I would preserve it here for prosperity.
Using someone else’s WiFi without permission is of course illegal (in the UK if not elsewhere) and I of course could not condone or recommend such behavior. We of course never did this ourselves. I do wonder how the conversation would go though ...
Caller "Hello, is that Fuddlingtonshire Police?"
Plod "Yes Sir, Is there a crime in progress that you wish to report?"
Caller "Yes I would like to report a transgression of the 2003 Communications Act and possibly unauthorized access to computer material that is summary offense under Section 1 of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act"
Plod "Er wot? Sir"
Caller "Someone is stealing Wifi"
Plod "Ah now I understand the gravity of the situation Sir"
(Overhead calling to colleagues in the background "Fred - stop all work on that Rape case, Bill I know you were going to raid that Crack house in Fuddlington high street this afternoon but something has come up. Bring the Cortina round the front")
Plod "So what is the address of the person whose Wifi is being stolen"
Caller "I don't know, I can just see an Antenna that must be picking up something"
Plod "So the person whose Wifi that is being stolen hasn't complained to you ?"
Caller "No, they are probably out and don't even know the crime is taking place"
Plod "Right so we don't actually know who it is being stolen from. What about who is doing the stealing. What is their address ?"
Caller "They don't have one."
Plod "Wot ? Are you trying to wind me up Sonny?"
Caller "No it's on a boat you see, anchored out in Big Bay"
Plod "Right I see. What does this boat look like ?"
Caller "It's got a mast and a white hull."
Plod "Look Sonny I am warning you, one more of these and the boys will be round to inspect the tread on your tyres ...”
Caller "No I am serious officer"
Plod ”OK. How many boats are there in Big Bay with masts and white hulls ?"
Caller "Er about 30 BUT this one is on a bearing of 034 degrees taken from the bus stop in Fisherman’s lane - about 300m out"
Plod "Right that's it we have him banged to rights, we'll get the Blues and Twos going on the Cortina....Once we have phoned up Division and asked if he can borrow their Rib - we don't have one in Fuddlington you see. And of course we are not trained for Maritime operations so there will have to be a Risk Assessment but once we have the Rib, the trained maritime staff and the assessment complete his collar is as good as felt. Oh and there isn't a tow bar on the Cortina either but we will get one fitted."
Caller "I am relieved to hear that."
Plod "Can I just ask a question can you actually see the Antenna being used. Do you actually know a signal is being stolen ?"
Caller "Well no I can't actually see someone inside the yacht actually using it. I suppose I couldn't sit there in court and testify to that."
Plod "OK Sir but considering the gravity we will of course investigate anyway. One more question. If the Yacht is out in Big Bay how come you noticed the Antenna ?”
Caller "Ah well as part of being a responsible citizen I sweep the Bay on the hour with my Binos to look for any potential infringements of the 2003 Communications Act"
Plod "I see - don't get our much do you Sir?"
Caller " It is difficult to fit in a social life with the hourly sweep you see..."
Plod "Yes of course Sir I understand. Just let me confirm the facts of this case. You want us to investigate someone on a yacht (in the bay on a bearing of 034 degrees taken from the bus stop in Fisherman’s lane - about 300m out with a white hull) who may, if the device is switched on which you can’t see, be stealing a signal from someone whose identity and location you do not know?"
Plod “Well thank you for your report we will get on to this as a top priority and a matter of urgency.”
(Puts phone down)
Plod "Fred, put the kettle on will you - I fancy a brew..."