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ELSPA goes undercover to nab car boot pirates

Tuesday 19 October 2004/... Nine individuals were arrested and over £250,000 worth of counterfeit digital media was seized on Sunday 17th October in an operation led by Staffordshire Police with ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association).

The manoeuvre, part of a large-scale operation called 'Operation Payback' targeting counterfeiters in the Staffordshire area under POCA (Proceeds Of Crime Act), was conducted at Wellington Drive car boot sale in Cannock by 18 police officers from Watling Street Police Station as well as an ELSPA investigator. The ELSPA officer posed undercover as a trader, enabling him to observe the pirates illegal activity. Further searches of the offenders' homes resulted in the discovery of a major counterfeiting factory in Walsall, hosting a large number of CD burners and counterfeit discs, including hardcore pornography.

Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA commented: "Computer and video games piracy causes a massive financial loss to the industry, so it is rewarding to see those responsible dealt with accordingly. ELSPA would like to thank Staffordshire Police for their sterling efforts in this investigation."

Operation Payback was initiated by Watling Street Police after a raid at Shareshill car boot sale on 19th September 2004. They arrested three males who were dealing in thousands of copied discs. The aim of Operation Payback is to target major manufacturers and distributors of pirated games, films and music, and gain convictions to enable a POCA investigation.

ELSPA (The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) represents the interests of the UK games publishers. It has a dedicated anti piracy unit with investigators based across the UK and often works closely with the Police and Trading Standards to combat computer games piracy.

Anyone with any information on computer games piracy should contact the police, their local Trading Standards Office or call the ELSPA anti piracy unit hotline on 08705 133405.


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

It is estimated that over £2 billion is lost every year by UK industry to games software counterfeiters.

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

Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

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

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.

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

About ELSPA -

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.

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



Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: /

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

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