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Pirate's Gold Veils Hidden Booty

Major wholesaler removed from illegal distribution chain

Tuesday 3rd October 2006/ A raid at a house in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire has resulted in the arrest of a man who has allegedly been making money from creating vast quantities of illegally copied games and pornography.

The raid, which was executed at 7am on the morning of Friday 22nd September at the premises of the 36-year old man by Staffordshire Trading Standards, an ELSPA investigator and Staffordshire police, resulted in the seizure of a large, state-of-the-art PC connected up to four burning towers (each with seven trays) and up to four Xbox 360 consoles.

The man's heavily pregnant wife was present in an upstairs bedroom, which had been converted into a production factory for duplicating illegally copied software and he was actually caught copying Xbox 360 games as the raid was being carried out.

Of the discs confiscated during the raid, the majority - over 1,000 - were games discs. Also discovered were five removable hard drives, allegedly containing his master files for all products. A large amount of pornography was also found on an undisclosed number of the discs.

Financial documents were recovered and a POCA (Proceeds Of Crime Act) investigation has already started to estimate the criminal gain from his illegal activities. The man has been bailed to appear before Staffordshire police at a later date.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: "This raid came as a result of a thorough and professional investigation by Staffordshire Trading Standards department and ELSPA investigators and proves that increasing numbers of pirates are paying the price for pursuing illegal business activities."

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The 36-year old man, whose market trading in gold items seemingly acted as a front for selling illegally copied games, first came to the attention of APU investigators when his phone number was found on another trader's mobile phone, who himself had been arrested elsewhere in the country for dealing in illegally copied discs. His lists of games for sale also appeared on another offender's computer.

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.

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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