ELSPA Anti-Piracy Unit
Bedfordshire pirate slapped with £20,000 bill following his car boot antics.
Monday 26th January/... A trader from Bedford has been ordered to pay back more than £20,000 gained from his criminal activities, handed a 33-week suspended sentence and ordered to perform 120 hours community service. The penalty followed an investigation by Bedfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards department.
Peter Howard, 49, of Westley Close, Arlesey, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to 36 charges of selling counterfeit DVDs at Liddlington car boot sale when he appeared before Bedford Magistrates Court last April. Howard was subsequently sent to Luton Crown Court for sentencing and for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002.
The judgement, delivered on January 9, has just ordered Howard to repay £15,786.95 for selling counterfeit DVDs plus £5,000 in costs to Bedfordshire County Council. In addition, Howard was ordered to forfeit his car, a computer and DVDs. The full amount is to be paid within six months or he will be facing a month in prison.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA, said: “Piracy and counterfeiting doesn’t pay. That’s increasingly clear from the recent successes in bringing to justice those who think they can profit from illegally copying games and other blatant piracy. This case only goes to prove that through patience and diligence Trading Standards, police and anti-piracy investigators are making it harder than ever for criminals to operate. The cost to IP (intellectual property) criminals is getting higher all the time.”
Councillor Peter Hollick, Bedfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Here is a case of a man who thought he could ignore the law and profit through dealing in counterfeit goods. Not only does he now have a suspended prison sentence hanging over his head, but he has lost his car and has to pay £20,000, or face a prison sentence.
“Our trading standards officers have considerable success in prosecuting this sort of crime and this goes some way to achieving our vision of a counterfeit-free county.”
About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com
ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.
ELSPA’s activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.
ELSPA’s IPCU (Intellectual Property Crime Unit) includes a team of investigators around the country. Software Piracy has a negative impact on both consumers and industry. ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately £600 million. Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences. The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware. Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.
For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Sarah Hartland/Gary Burns
Tel: 01462 456780
Fax: 01462 456781
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW