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Peter Axford, age 47, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court to two years and six months imprisonment for offences relating to the manufacture, distribution and sale of pirate DVDs over a four year period. The case was prosecuted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’).
Operating from premises in Chadwell Heath, Essex, Axford was manufacturing tens of thousands of counterfeit DVDs from a rented flat and was then supplying them to stallholders at car boot fairs in Cambridgeshire and Essex. He was also selling the pirate DVDs himself at car boot fairs.
Over 15,000 pirate discs were seized during the raid, along with 90 DVD burners and 4 colour printers used to produce the DVDs and the artwork for the sleeves.
Axford, a former fireman, had been arrested by police several times for piracy offences and the Judge’s sentencing reflected his refusal to cease his activities as well as the serious, enduring and lucrative nature of the crimes.
As part of FACT’s ongoing partnership with the Assets Recovery Agency (‘ARA’), the criminal gain realised from Axford’s illegal operations is now being investigated by the ARA with regard to a confiscation hearing in November.
Raymond Leinster, FACT Director General, said “We are very pleased that a serious and persistent offender has received a sentence commensurate with his activities. Film piracy is a crime that is attracting those who wish to finance a criminal lifestyle and this sentence shows that the courts are starting to treat this crime type much more severely, with custodial sentences and rigorous financial investigations.”