Games Criminals Arrested At Bradford Computer Fair

Friday 2nd May/... A joint operation between West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) and West Yorkshire Police on Sunday 27th April resulted in approximately 12,000 illegally copied discs and over 150 devices used for‘chipping’ being seized. Chipping is the process that enables copied games to be played on consoles such as the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3. The operation, carried out at a Computer Fair held at Richard Dunn Sports Centre in Bradford, resulted in two individuals being arrested for selling copied computer software and copied computer games. Further seizures were also made of software and other chipping devices at a number of stalls at the fair.

Following the arrests officers from Trading Standards and the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) carried out a house search in Leeds which uncovered approximately 5,000 counterfeit software, films and music discs.

Further investigations following this operation are being carried out by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service and West Yorkshire Police.

WYTSS estimate the retail value of the items seized to be in excess of£100,000. The equivalent value of original products is in excess of£1 million.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA said:“The raid at Dunn Sports Centre in Bradford 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.”

Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, said:“The illegal software trade is worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the domestic market alone. Trading Standards have had the power to enforce the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act since April 2007 and the Service is committed to enforcing this Act to eradicate the sale of counterfeit software, music and computer games in the county. The Service would like to send out a warning to individuals involved in software piracy that they will be dealt with severely. The maximum penalty for crimes under copyright and trademark legislation carries a sentence of ten years imprisonment.”

NPT Sergeant Julie Deacon, West Yorkshire Police, said:“We’re always pleased to work in partnership with Trading Standards. Anything that helps to reduce crime in the area is welcomed. If anyone has suspicions about counterfeit goods being sold please contact either your local NPT or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.”

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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:


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