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British couple imprisoned for game piracy

A separated couple in Formby have been sentenced to a combined total of 27 months in prison after their home was raided by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council Trading Standards officers, local Police and an Entertainment Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) investigator.

Unemployed Andrew King of Alexandra Road, Southport, received 21 months imprisonment. His sentence comprises of 18 months for Trademark offences and falsely claiming benefits, as well as three months for an earlier conviction on intellectual property theft for which he had been given a previous conditional discharge.

His estranged wife, Angela Susan King of Dales Walk, Freshfield in Formby received six months for the same offences. Both were sentenced on August 1st at Liverpool Crown Court.

The authorities discovered a "secret cupboard" hidden in a wall of their family home in Formby stacked with counterfeit games, music and film discs. The games alone reached an estimated value of UKP 28,000 had the titles been genuine retail versions, according to ELSPA.

Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA commented: "These offenders were profiting through crime, not only riding on the back of the creative industries but also lining their pockets with tax payers money. We will continue to work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, Trading Standards and the Police, all of whom give us excellent support and assistance."

Andrew Naisbitt, head of Trading Standards for Sefton Council said: "We are very pleased with the outcome of the court case and hopefully it sends out a strong message that piracy and benefit fraud in any form will not be tolerated. Our dedicated and committed team takes piracy very seriously and we will not hesitate to take court action against anyone caught responsible for it. Not only are consumers short-changed when they buy poor quality fake goods but legitimate retailers also lose out on business."

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