A crackdown on illegal DVD sellers in Whitechapel netted 1,218 pirate DVDs including 311 obscene pornographic films.
Eight DVD sellers were arrested in the street raids on Thursday (12 July) and seven pleaded guilty to breaking the Trade Marks Act 1984 and the Video Recordings Act 1984.
Most of those charged appeared before Thames Magistrates on Friday (13 July) and have been sentenced and others are due to make court appearances in the near future.
This joint crackdown by Tower Hamlets Council the Metropolitan Police and Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is part of a wider campaign to reveal the truth behind counterfeiting. To stop people who are tempted by the cut-price products a hard-hitting road show run by Tower Hamlets Partnership and Safer Neighbourhood Teams has been visiting community organisations and local schools in Spitafields, Banglatown and Bethnal Green to reveal the truth.
Police Inspector Paul Kinzett said: “This is the first joint operation coordinated as a result of the Whitechapel Problem Solving Group and shows the commitment that a wide range of agencies have in improving the area for people who use the market area. I am grateful to those who have contributed to the planning of this operation – initial feedback from market traders is that they were pleased to see the action taken by officers on Thursday.”
Tower Hamlets Council’s Lead Member for Cleaner, Safer, Greener Councillor Abdal Ullah said: “People should be able to walk down Whitechapel High Street without being hassled by illegal DVD sellers and without worrying that their children are going to see DVD covers featuring pornography. Crackdowns like this are so important for the area and we must all play our part.
“Selling fake goods hits legitimate businesses hard and it floods the market with cheaper products making it hard for reputable businesses to compete. On a broader scale, film piracy is making vast profits for organised criminal networks in the UK and worldwide.”
The workshops have been prepared with support from the national organisation Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to prepare a series of challenging discussions encouraging people to think about the reality of piracy.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said: ”FACT is pleased to have been able to assist with this multi-agency operation. This action should send out a strong message that this type of criminality will not be tolerated in Tower Hamlets.”