Survey also reveals that only one in four Brits believe it is “morally wrong”.

A recent survey, commissioned by communications agency Diffusion and conducted by OnePoll, has revealed that 53% of UK consumers have illegally downloaded a film.

Out of those polled, a fifth admit to doing so ‘often’ or ‘occasionally’ with those under 34 most likely to download at 64%, a number which drops to 10% for the 55 and overs. Men are slightly more likely than women - 20% to 15% - and 21% of men believe it is “morally wrong”, a statement which just 14% of 24-34 years old agree with.

London is the piracy capital of the UK with 73% of residents illegally downloading films, while the practice was lowest in East Anglia at 42%.

Nearly one in ten consumers claimed they would like to download films illegally but don’t know how, a figure which rises to four in ten of those aged 44 and under.

Laura Pettitt, Head of the Film & Entertainment at Diffusion [pictured], commented: “Our research highlights that Illegal film downloading is now becoming a mainstream activity in the UK, despite recent high-profile legal cases and moves by the government to force ISPs to restrict access to file-sharing sites. The film industry needs to learn from the mistakes of the music industry and strike the right balance between education, prevention and punishment.

“The growing competition in the UK film streaming space from the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm could generate an ‘iTunes’ effect and make illegally downloading movies less attractive to consumers. More fundamentally the entertainment industry may also need to revisit the lifecycle of a typical film and consider whether reducing the obligatory 3-month period between a cinema and DVD release could help reduce the growth of illegal downloading.”

OnePoll surveyed a nationally representative panel of 2,000 GB adults aged 18-55+ with the survey was carried out online from March 6-8.