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ELSPA cracks down on eBay GBA pirate

Following an investigation by Birmingham Trading Standards in co-operation with ELSPA, a 40 year-old Sutton Coldfield woman has been caught importing fake Game Boy Advance cartridges and selling them on eBay.

The offender, who has not been named, first came to the attention of the authorities last December after an eBay user complained that they had been sold a counterfeit game advertised as genuine.

ELSPA's Internet investigator then made a series of test purchases from the woman's eBay page, and found that she had conducted almost 400 transactions over a 12 month period.

Trading Standards officers found "a substantial number" of fake GBA cartridges, most of them Mario titles, when they searched the woman's home. She had been importing them from Hong Kong, bringing them through Coventry airport, and selling each one for between UKP 10-25.

The woman made "a full and frank admission" when interviewed by authorities, and now faces prosecution.

"Counterfeiters believe that the numerous internet auction sites today offer a completely immune route to market for the illegal sale of counterfeit and pirated products - this is not the case," said ELSPA deputy DG Michael Rawlinson.

"Sites such as eBay have stringent policies on illegal trading and cooperate fully with authorities to ensure these are enforced. ELSPA is grateful to Birmingham City Council Trading Standards for their hard work in this investigation."

Councillor Neil Eustace, chair of Birmingham City Public Protection Committee, commented: "It is notoriously difficult to bring to book people operating illegally on the Internet. Everyone involved has done an excellent job in seeing this investigation through to a successful conclusion."

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Ellie Gibson: Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.
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