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MARKET TRADERS JAILED FOR PIRACY

Tuesday 26 July 2005/... A double sentencing at Mold Crown Court in North Wales on Friday has resulted in the imprisonment of two offenders for the illegal trading of computer games and films.

Barry Terence Warren of Eleanor Road, Birkenhead in Merseyside received six months imprisonment. His accomplice, first time offender Paul Gibbons of Langfield Crescent, Droylseden in Manchester, received a four-month prison sentence. Gibbons was charged with eight offences under the Trade Marks Act and Warren with 11, seven of which were games related.

The investigation began back in December last year, when Flintshire County Council Trading Standards Department asked ELSPA to assist in an operation at the Coed Mawr market in Greenfields, Flint. They were also supported by North Wales Police. An ELSPA investigator made several test purchases of copied games discs from the stall of Gibbons and Warren, and the pair was arrested. Further observations by ELSPA led to the seizure of two vehicles, one of which proved to be full of counterfeit products.

Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA commented: "Piracy is a criminal offence and as these two convictions show, anyone tempted to become involved in this illegal activity faces tough action from the authorities. ELSPA would like to thank all those involved in the successful resolution of this investigation."

A Flintshire County Council Trading Standards spokesperson said: "The threat for anyone involved in pirate activity is not just prison, but also the very real possibility of losing their money and property, which serves as an additional deterrent to criminals."

The offenders will be brought back to court for a Proceeds Of Crime Act hearing at a later date, when the financial issues will be considered. They potentially face the loss of all their illegal earnings and assets as well as additional financial penalties.

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

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.

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