10 arrests by film piracy unit working with FACT

At approx 11.30 this morning (13.06.06) police officers from the Film Piracy Unit and Territorial Support Group at the Met police have arrested ten people believed to be involved in a large criminal network dealing in film piracy.

The raids were carried out in North Chingford, Harlow and Walthamstow at residential and business premises. Utilizing intelligence from a number of sources including FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), IFPI (International Federation Phonographic Industries) and Waltham Forest Trading Standards, the Met’s Film Piracy Unit were able to target a successful criminal network dealing in the production of counterfeit DVD’s.

The factory, at industrial premises in Harlow, is believed to be a supplier sustaining the production of counterfeit film products by criminal networks in London, the South East and Home Counties.

Two men and a woman were arrested at business premises in Walthamstow, a further three men were arrested at business premises in Harlow. They have all been arrested on suspicion of:

(1) Conspiracy to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct
(2) Conspiracy to produce counterfeit film product

A further man was arrested in Harlow on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug.

All of the above seven have been taken to an Essex Police Station.

Three men arrested during the raid have been bailed to return to a police station at a later date.

No one was arrested at the raid in North Chingford.

Searches are ongoing.

Detective Superintendent Trevor Shepherd, Economic and Specialist Crime Directorate said:

“Today’s arrests are key in closing down a large proportion of the film piracy industry in the south east. By working with our partners (FACT) we have been able to take a pre-emptive strike against the top tier of a successful criminal network.”

Raymond Leinster, FACT Director General, said:

“This is a significant success for the Met’s Film Piracy Unit working together with FACT. The focus of this operation is to dismantle a commercial entity sustaining the large scale manufacture and distribution of counterfeit film media. We welcome the in depth financial investigation under the proceeds of crime act associated with today’s raids.”

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