£60,000 confiscation order against film pirate

Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) Financial Investigators, working in partnership with Essex County Council Trading Standards, Cambridge County Council Trading Standards, Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and have secured a Confiscation Order worth £60,681 against Peter William Axford of Kilmartin Road, Ilford, Essex, who is a convicted counterfeiter.

Investigations into Mr. Axford’s activities began in November 2002 when Essex Trading Standards received complaints from members of the public in relation to the sale of counterfeit DVDs at car boot sales in the county. A joint investigation was launched with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Inquiries identified Mr. Axford as being involved in the illegal copying, distribution and sale of counterfeit DVDs in the Essex area.

On 10th July 2006 at Blackfriars Crown Court, Mr. Axford pleaded guilty to making for sale infringing copyright works, producing infringing copyright works, copying infringing copyright works, offering for sale infringing copyright works, and offering for sale counterfeit goods which bore a registered trademark. He was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment.

At Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday, HHJ Marron certified that the benefit derived from Mr. Axford’s activity amounted to £122,066.20, and ruled that the recoverable amount is £60,681. Mr. Axford has 18 months to pay this amount back to the Agency, or face 18 months’ imprisonment in default.

Jane Earl, Director of the Assets Recovery Agency, said: “By using a joined-up approach, we can take the cash out of counterfeiting. The Assets Recovery Agency works with a range of agencies and organisations to make sure crime doesn’t pay- this case is no exception. I look forward to even more success through cooperation in the future.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added: “I am pleased that this multi-agency operation has resulted in a conviction and a confiscation order. The primary motivation for those involved in film piracy is the criminal profits and, by hitting them with prison and a financial penalty, we can send the message that this kind of activity carries a higher risk than previously.

I would like to thank the ARA, Essex County Council Trading Standards, Cambridge County Council Trading Standards and the BPI for their assistance in this case.”

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