Two men have been arrested for "dishonestly obtaining a communications service" after they used a householder's wireless network to check their emails.
The offence happened on Sunday in Tweedmouth, south of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police told the Reg: "I can confirm that two local men were using a householder's wireless network to check their email. They were arrested and are out on bail pending further enquiries."
Berwick Neighbourhood Inspector Sharon Stavers said: "This is a very unusual offence and it appears the two men were doing nothing more sinister than checking their email and getting some time on the internet for free.
"However, this is an offence and people pay good money to get the internet in their homes. It is worth reminding people who use a wireless connection to ensure they follow the manufacturer's instructions when setting it up and make sure all security systems are in place to keep computers safe."
A survey from Cisco earlier this month found 11 per cent of remote workers admitted to pinching bandwidth, up from six per cent last year.
Opinion is divided on the issue. Some users secure their networks and some deliberately leave connections open or use services like Fon to trade bandwidth - you provide members with some of your home broadband and in exchange you get access to other Fon members's networks. ®