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PIRATES' PROFIT PLUNDERED

Over £78,000 recovered under the Proceeds Of Crime Act

Wednesday 5th April 2006/... Two convicted video game pirates have been ordered to pay back over £78,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) following a confiscation investigation conducted by the North West Regional Asset Recovery team.

Paul Gibbons (29) and Barry Terence Warren (47) were brought back to Mold Crown Court for the hearing on March 16th, after having been previously sentenced to four months and six months imprisonment respectively.

The court assessed that Warren's financial benefit from criminality was £11,414.52, but as he had no available assets a nominal amount was confiscated. Gibbon's benefit from his criminal activity was assessed at £284,710.12. His available assets, which included the equity from his home and a motor vehicle, amounted to £78,873.44. An order was made that he pay back this amount within six months or serve two years imprisonment in default.

Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA commented: "This case demonstrates the enormous financial risk faced by those who sell counterfeit computer and video games. Any profit made through this kind of illegal activity can be claimed back under POCA, and shows anyone tempted to become involved that counterfeiting doesn't pay."

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

On 12 December 2004 a joint operation was mounted by the North Wales Police and Flintshire County Council Trading Standards Department, targeting the illicit sale of counterfeit MP3 discs, DVDs, CDs and computer games, at the Coed Mawr Market at Greenfield, near Holywell, Flintshire. Contraband with a street value in excess of £90,000 was seized and a number of people were arrested.

On 22 July 2005 two men pleaded guilty to offences involving Trade Mark infringement at Mold Crown Court. Paul Nicholas Gibbons of Langfield Crescent, Droylesden, Greater Manchester, and Barry Terrence Warren of High Street, Connahs Quay, Flintshire, were sentenced to four months and six months imprisonment respectively.

The North West Regional Asset Recovery Team then began a financial investigation into these two men.

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.

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:

EMMA COWIE/ HEATHER WILKINS

BARRINGTON HARVEY

emma@bhpr.co.uk/heather.wilkins@bhpr.co.uk

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

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