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The liquidators of failed digital TV outfit, ITV Digital, want customers to cough up £40 to keep their set top boxes (STB).

According to Grant Thornton, the million or so former ITV Digital punters never actually owned their STBs but were merely "lent" the kit.

The STBs are regarded as "potentially a major asset in the liquidation" and Grant Thornton is doing all it can to clear ITV Digital's £1.24bn debt.

Which is why Grant Thornton is trying to recoup some cash by charging £39.99 for the boxes. Anyone who doesn't want to keep their box can get it collected for free.

Those who refuse to pay up or hand in their STBs could have to face debt collectors banging on their door.

In a statement Malcolm Shierson of Grant Thornton said: "This offer has been priced to give a significant discount to the retail price of new set top boxes.

"Many customers, knowing that they do not have title to the boxes, have contacted both ourselves and ONdigital during its insolvency, and will welcome the offer in the knowledge that they no longer are holding and using something to which they are not strictly legally entitled."

Many punters are currently using the set top boxes to receive the recently launched free-to-air service, which includes some 30 TV and radio channels. ®

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