Fake DVD ‘supermarket’ shut down

By on 01/03/2010 in News

fake-dvds1 An audacious fake DVD gang who kept supermarket type shelves of the latest Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, has been smashed by Birmingham Trading Standards, acting on intelligence from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

In a three part raid, with assistance from West Midlands Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), officers from Trading Standards targeted a house in Alexander Road , Acocks Green that was being used as a manufacturing unit, an apartment in Bromsgrove Street in the city centre which operated as a distribution centre, and a vehicle used to ferry merchandise between the two locations.

The house in Acocks Green contained 12 copying towers, capable of burning 164 discs at a time, as well as high quality print DVD sleeve inserts. The city centre apartment contained neat stacks of DVDs, all categorised for easy distribution, with one room containing pornography, and the other the latest Hollywood and Bollywood releases. Oscars contender 'Precious', and Bollywood blockbuster 'My name is Khan', which only had a UK release on 12th February 2010, were amongst the haul seized.

It is understood that 'foot soldiers' would regularly visit the apartment to stock up on the latest releases, which would then be sold on the street for as little as £3 each. It is estimated that every day, 10,000 copies were being produced.

Four individuals have been charged with possession of goods for supply which falsely bear a registered Trade Mark and remanded in custody. The penalty, if convicted, can be up to ten years imprisonment.

Jacqui Kennedy, Director of Regulatory Services at Birmingham City Council, comments:fake-dvds2

“This was an extremely slick operation, which posed a serious risk to the local economy. People may think there's no harm in buying a knock-off DVD, and that they're getting a bargain in a time of recession. The reality is that buying fakes hurts local cinema and retail takings, and ultimately, their staff pay the price, with fewer jobs and less opportunities in the local industry”.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added:

“FACT has established a strong working partnership with Birmingham Trading Standards and West Midlands Police and this is proving successful in tackling audio-visual piracy as well as other serious criminality. As a national organisation, we have always been aware of the need for strong local connections and we are able to assist law enforcement across the UK in reducing criminal activity and harm to local communities.”???

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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