Wednesday 19 April 2006/... Five people have been arrested at a computer fair in Wolverhampton for selling pirated games, modified chips and 'chipped' consoles, following a raid by 40 local Police and Trading Standards officers.
The raid took place on Tuesday afternoon following successful test purchases by an ELSPA investigator on behalf of Wolverhampton City Council Trading Standards.
The two stalls targeted were offering games and digital media made to order, as well as a chipping service for Xbox and Playstation 2 consoles. Officials found approximately 50 modified chips and wiring diagrams behind one of the stalls. They also uncovered 'downgrader' software for Sony's PSP console and a large number of pirated PSP titles.
The five people arrested were held over night in jail and two of the suspects' homes were searched. Officials discovered two fully operational piracy 'factories' - inside one home and in the garage of the other house - containing four computers, two burning towers and numerous computer and video game master copies.
"ELSPA works closely with local Police and Trading Standards across the country," said Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA. "We were pleased to assist the Wolverhampton authorities in this case and would like to thank all involved for their hard work in uncovering these counterfeiting operations."
A financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act is underway. This can lead to serious financial loss for those criminals involved.
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
Tel: 01462 456780
Fax: 01462 456781
Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW