Officers from the Metropolitan Police Obscene Publications Unit have arrested two men and seized over 50,000 counterfeit DVDs following a joint operation with City of London Police, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and Trading Standards.
The intelligence led operation, codenamed Renard, saw officers execute a search warrant at an address in Lewisham at approx 17.00 hrs yesterday (18 March 2009). On entering, police discovered the upstairs had been converted into an illegal duplicating premise, with 120 DVD burners. Over 20,000 DVDs, all of a pornographic and some obscene nature, were also found, complete with labels and covers, ready to be illegally distributed throughout London.
This was in addition to a further 30,000 counterfeit and pornographic DVDs uncovered at two other linked premises in Tower Hamlets the previous week.
Two men were arrested on suspicion of publishing obscene articles and possession with a view to supply unclassified films; they were taken to a central London police station.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said: “This is a major success in closing down an illegal burning lab capable of producing over 100,000 counterfeit DVDs per week with a street value of over £300,000. These DVDs would have supplied a large number of street vendors in London and the South East, with the proceeds being funnelled back to organised criminal networks.
This seizure also included thousands of DVDs containing unlicensed hardcore pornography with some obscene material that was also destined to be sold alongside the more mainstream film and TV titles.
I would like to thank the Metropolitan Police Obscene Publications Unit for their ongoing efforts to close down this illegal activity.”
Inspector Andy Shortland from the Metropolitan Police Obscene Publications Unit said: “The nature of the DVDs in this case fuels demand for an industry based on the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women. We will continue to work with our partners to disrupt this criminal activity and bring offenders to justice.”