16 months for Manchester man convicted of counterfeiting DVDs

Steven Healey rented a house to carry out his counterfeit films, music and games enterprise.

The 42-year-old was caught when a gas engineer sent around by the landlord became suspicions and called the authorities.

A raid by Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Council Trading Standards and FACT at the house on Church Road, Wythenshawe, in October, 2007 uncovered thousands of counterfeit discs, two computers and 20 DVD burners.

Investigators from FACT found stacks of blank discs, invoices, orders and postal bags containing copied films, music and games waiting to be sent out.

Two months later, FACT investigators carried out a second raid at Healey’s home on Nettlebarn Road, Benchill, Wythenshawe – and found his operation was still up and running.

3,000 counterfeit discs, two computers, a laptop and another 20 burners were discovered.

In total, 10,000 counterfeit film DVDs, more than 3,075 music CDs, 4,500 games CDs and 2,250 discs containing hardcore pornography were seized.

He was arrested and made no comment during his first interview, but made a full admission when questioned a second time.

Healey, who has previous convictions for counterfeiting games, was jailed for 16 months after he admitted 14 trademark and copyright offences when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court on 16 February.

Judge Andrew Gilbart told Healey: “What you have been doing is exploiting your own ability to copy the work of artists so that they receive no payment for their work while you reap the benefits.

“It’s a fraud from which you deprive income from those who created and distributed films, music and games which they had a right to expect. This was not a hobby or a small operation. It was a well-planned operation. In my judgement, you did this for personal gain, pure and simple.”

The judge said Healey, at a conservative estimate, had made up to £1,600 a week.

To report the manufacture or sale of counterfeit DVDs call the charity CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team.

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