A counterfeiter and handler of stolen goods who made over £56,000 while illegally pocketing benefits has been jailed for five years after a two-year-long investigation by West Yorkshire Police, Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) and Department for Work & Pensions (‘DWP’).
David Martin, 61, of Parsonage Road, Laisterdyke, Bradford was convicted yesterday (27th April 2010) at Bradford Crown Court.
Martin was counterfeiting DVDs and travelling to the continent to trade in tobacco and pleaded guilty to benefit fraud, handling stolen goods, selling counterfeit DVDs, possessing a computer hard drive for use in fraud and possessing money as criminal property. Six of the ten charges relate to the counterfeiting activity.
When his home was raided by Police on 27th February 2008 several thousand counterefeit DVDs, a stolen laptop and £12,000 in cash was found. Police financial investigators seized a further £44,663 from his three bank accounts.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC called him “a dyed-in-the-wool criminal” and prosecutor Gerald Hendron said Martin dishonestly claimed £23,331 in Income Support and Disability Living Allowance between 2002 and 2008. He did not reveal he had savings and stated he could hardly walk and was unable to make a meal or dress himself. He was paid £3,000 for casual work as a delivery driver in 2007, loading the truck by hand and even replacing doors at the premises after a burglary, Mr Hendron said.
The counterfeit DVDs he produced were sold in pubs whilst he also travelled to Spain, Brussels and Tenerife to bring back tobacco to sell. Martin was also well known to other criminals in the area for “fencing” goods from his back door to sell at car boot sales.
Detective Inspector Ian Bryar said:
“Martin is now paying the price, however, it doesn’t stop there. West Yorkshire Police is in the process of seizing assets from him, including cash and his home address in the Laisterdyke area of Bradford.
“This should act as a warning to other criminals. Martin is a negative role model who was acting as a receiver. This encouraged local youths to commit crime and set a bad example to others in the area.”
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added:
“This is an important conviction, showing the links between counterfeiting and other serious criminal activity that impacts on local communities. It is also one of the strongest ever sentences for production and sale of counterfeit DVDs in the UK and sends a very strong message to criminals that the courts will give out custodial sentences for these crimes as well as seizing criminal assets.
FACT commends West Yorkshire Police for its diligence in bringing this case to trial and will continue to work closely with police forces across the UK to target those involved in counterfeiting its members’ products.”