7 years in jail for gang behind UK’s largest illegal DVD factory

Gang members who ran the UK’s biggest counterfeit DVD factory have been sentenced on 21 June to a total of seven years and 10 months before Southwark Crown Court, after being found guilty of infringing copyright and conspiring to distribute illegally copied DVDs.

Police estimate at the height of its operation the gang was capable of generating £95,000 a day from this single location alone by reproducing up to quarter of a million fake titles a week that were then sold on the streets of London.

Gang members had developed a sophisticated distribution operation, couriering the burned DVDs across London to 15 ‘shops’ in residential properties in Deptford and Lewisham. Large numbers of sellers would then visit the addresses on a daily basis and select the titles to sell at locations across London and the South East.

On 12 April before the Old Bailey, Mirza Amjad Beig, 45 from Hounslow was found guilty of two counts of infringing copyright and one of conspiracy to distribute items. Amin Zulfiqar, 28 from Feltham, Middlesex was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute articles infringing copyright.

The ringleaders of the crime, Prikshat Sharma, 27, and Rahul Divan, 35 pleaded guilty to charges of Conspiracy to Manufacture and Distribute Counterfeit DVD’s Subject to Trade Mark in March this year.

A third man Ajay Singh Ahulawalia 50, also pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Manufacture Subject to Trade Mark and concealing criminal property on the same day (21 March).

In 2009 a joint operation between City of London Police, Metropolitan Police and FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) saw the gang’s illegal business closed down. Police raided two sites in Wembley and Southall, seizing millions of pounds worth of equipment that was used as evidence in the case.

Police confiscated a large-scale professional printing press, 440 DVD burners and 60,000 copied and packaged DVDs ready for distribution. The counterfeit titles included blockbuster movies including Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Watchmen, Gran Torino and Australia featuring stars such as Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Dev Patel. Police also discovered 250,000 blank discs and one million professionally printed full colour covers.

City of London Police Det Chief Insp Dave Evans who oversaw the operation said:

“Criminals are eager to target the Capital as a base for these activities, setting up factories and then taking advantage of the huge number of potential customers on their door step.

“But anyone who buys fake DVDs should think long and hard about what they’re doing. This is not a victimless crime. It not only damages the film industry but the huge profits generated are also often used to fund other criminal activities.

These men ran an organised business, with a specialist factory capable of producing millions of fake DVDs. City of London Police has put them out of business for good with these convictions.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added:

“This was a sophisticated criminal enterprise producing millions of counterfeit DVDs and making substantial amounts of money for those running it.

Organised criminal gangs such as this threaten the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people working in the UK’s film and television industries and contribute nothing to the legitimate UK economy.”

Latest Content

News

Jimmy Bullard gets schooled on grim reality of illegal streaming, including extreme pop-ups, malware, scams and hacking

Former Premier League footballer Jimmy Bullard given harsh lesson on the risks of piracy by cyber security expert Jamie Woodruff. In a new FACT campaign, Jimmy Bullard has been given a first-hand insight into some of the risks lurking behind illegal streams, from viruses and malware deliberately designed to infect your devices, to full-scale identity … Continued

News

Major illegal streaming network dismantled by West Midlands Police operation

Top UK content provider targeted by police raids Suspects, who were allegedly providing illegal access to content to more than 100 separate pirate TV services, were arrested at the scene Hundreds of thousands of customers have their services replaced by police message Three people have been arrested and a major illegal streaming network has been … Continued

News

FACT and Sky Highlight Dangers of Illegal Streaming to Licensees

With the football season back in full swing, Sky and FACT are working together to warn licensees of the dangers of unscrupulous suppliers who may be approaching them with low-cost, but illegal, ways of showing sport in their premises. Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT warns of the risk businesses are taking when they engage with … Continued

News

Suppliers of illegal streaming services targeted in UK-wide FACT initiative

In the past week FACT investigators and police officers from Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, West Yorkshire Police and Dyfed-Powys Police have visited addresses across the UK to serve Cease and Desist notices to individuals suspected of supplying illegal streaming services. The initiative is aimed at preventing the illegal supply of IPTV streams, with investigators … Continued