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SEVEN ARRESTED IN PIRACY CRACKDOWN

Operation Carter shuts down Staffordshire counterfeiters

Tuesday 18 October 2005/... Seven individuals have been arrested after Police and Trading Standards officers with representatives from the game and film industries targeted car boot sale counterfeiters in the Staffordshire area on Sunday 16th October.

Operation Carter, which began in August 2005 and is part of a joint venture between ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), Staffordshire Trading Standards and Police and FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), came to a successful close at a car boot sale at Wellington Drive, Cannock. Two women aged 40 years and 21 years from the West Bromwich area were arrested along with a 25-year-old man from Walsall for the production and distribution of counterfeit goods and money laundering. Four other people were arrested for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud. All are currently on police bail.

The authorities searched the home addresses of several of those arrested, revealing copied games and DVDs, over £18,000 cash and around 8000 cigarettes.

"This operation has dealt a severe blow to those trading in counterfeit products and makes it clear that piracy will not be tolerated" commented Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA. "ELSPA thanks all those involved for their cooperation and hard work in bringing this investigation to such a successful close."

DS Garry Helsby of Staffordshire Police said: "These crimes are taken very seriously and joint operations such as this one will continue to target car boot sales across the county. Our multi-agency approach is highly successful and anyone involved in this type of activity is warned to expect a visit from the police very soon."

In the two months since Operation Carter commenced, seizures of counterfeit goods have now reached £2 million.

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.

EDITORS NOTES

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 - 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.

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

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