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Gloucestershire Bust Reveals Treasure Chest of Pirated Games

Thousands of illegally copied games discovered in Gloucestershire home

Tuesday 12th December 2006/ A raid at an address in Yate, South Gloucestershire resulted in the arrest of a 31 year-old man who had been selling thousands of illegally copied games, DVDs and CDs.

The swoop, which was carried out on the morning of Tuesday 6th December, followed vigilant work undertaken by the public who brought the man's illegal activities to the attention of local Trading Standards officers allowing them to zero in on his address.

The warrant for the man's arrest was executed by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards Department for trademark offences. Officers from Avon and Somerset Police and an ELSPA investigator were also present at the time of the raid, where an office-type room was discovered containing an Aladdin's Cave of criminal activity.

Among the 1000s of stolen Xbox, PlayStation 2, film and music discs retrieved, three separate computer systems rigged for mass duplication and eight hard drives were found. Also recovered were counterfeit inlay sleeves for the discs, scanned covers of games, counterfeit face labels and a number of printers and scanners.

The man was arrested for trademarks offences and taken to Staple Hill Police Station and interviewed under caution by Trading Standards. He was later bailed to be re-interviewed after further evidence has been gathered from the forensic examinations of the computers.

"The theft of computer and video games software and any other multimedia product by copying it is illegal and has a harmful impact on both local businesses and communities," said Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA. "ELSPA would like to thank the efforts of everyone concerned with the Yate raid in their attempts to protect local traders and remove stolen products from the marketplace."

Neil Derrick, Senior Enforcement Officer, South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards said: "South Gloucestershire Trading Standards are very pleased with the results of this raid, which has enabled us to halt yet another counterfeiting operation immediately. Based on the evidence I have already seen, a prosecution will follow. We were only able to take such action due to good quality intelligence received from the public, whose cooperation is invaluable for this type of work".

A financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) could be scheduled in the near future, which can lead to serious financial loss for those criminals involved.

Ends.

EDITORS NOTES

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.

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately £540 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.

Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.

Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Tom Sargent/Laura West

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: tom.sargent@bhpr.co.uk/ laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW

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