Chipping Operation Smashed

Wednesday 27th February/... Two men, who peddled a while-you-wait console chipping service at a Midlands computer fair while simultaneously selling pre-chipped Nintendo® Wii™ and Nintendo® Wii™ consoles have been arrested.

The men, who operated a stand alongside other genuine businessmen, were caught offering the‘service’ at the Robin Park Sports Centre in Wigan, where it was also discovered they were selling a number of illegally copied Xbox 360 and Wii games and a number of counterfeit DVD films.

The warrant for the raid, obtained and executed under the Trade Marks Act 1994, was carried out on the evening of 16th January at the Robin Park computer fair by officers of Greater Manchester Police and Wigan Trading Standards following investigative test purchases made by ELSPA’s (the Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association) I.P. Crime Unit.

One of the two men arrested, who, like his partner-in-crime, cannot be named until further investigations have been carried out, was a resident of the West Midlands. Consequently Wolverhampton City Council Trading Standards Service, West Midlands Police and ELSPA investigators executed an entry warrant at his home in Dudley where it was discovered he was running a functioning chipping factory in his garage. Further documents found at the premises resulted in the execution of a further raid at a business premises in the Wolverhampton area on 17th January from where other counterfeiting equipment was seized.

The second arrested man was a resident of Leyland in Preston, Lancashire, and during the search of his house a substantial quantity of Wii and Xbox 360 games were recovered.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA said:“The raid at The Robin Park Sports Complex highlights the ongoing commitment demonstrated by local Trading Standards authorities in stamping this kind of operation out. ELSPA would like to thank everyone involved for their work instigating this investigation and helping to protect local traders and the general community from the effects of pirated goods.”

Julie Middlehurst, Wigan’s Chief Trading Standards Officer, added:“This operation shows that we will not tolerate anyone selling counterfeit goods in Wigan, and will take the appropriate action. Counterfeit good not only affect the people who produce the genuine goods but local businesses who sell them.

“We’d like to thank Robin Park Sports Centre for its co-operation. It has enabled us to remove any illegal activity from what is an otherwise thoroughly honest and well-respected event.”

Peter Calvert, Wolverhampton Trading Standards Service Manager, said:“The Wolverhampton part of this operation is part of a sustained effort to fight product counterfeiting in the City. Selling fake items is designed to dupe innocent consumers, harm the livelihoods of honest traders and line the pockets of the greedy”

Ends.

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£600 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:

Tom Sargent/Laura West

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: tom.sargent@bhpr.co.uk/ laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW


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