Knock off DVD sellers get prison

Two Chinese men have received prison sentences for selling counterfeit DVDs in Tesco car park on Morning Lane in Hackney. The men, who both had previous convictions for similar offences, were arrested during a joint operation by Hackney police, trading standards and FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft). A third man, was also given a police caution.

Mr Gou Awei, from Lower Clapton Road, E5, pleaded guilty to selling and offering to sell illegal DVDs on Saturday 15 November, at Thames Magistrates Court last month (17/11/08).

Gou Awei was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment for a breach of a suspended sentence, issued by the courts in May 2008 for similar offences, plus a further 20 weeks suspended sentence. Mr Jian Ming Chen of the same address as Gou Awei was given a police caution for selling counterfeit DVDs.

Also convicted was Mr Ben Shi He of no fixed address.  Shi He pleaded guilty to selling and offering to sell counterfeit DVDs on Saturday 22 November, at Thames Magistrates Court last week (24/11/08). He was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment, for a breach of an ASBO order issued earlier this year for the same offences in Tesco car park.

Sergeant Michiela Medcraft, Chatham Safer Neighbourhoods team said: “This operation has been a great success and demonstrates true partnership working with Hackney Council Trading Standards and FACT. The custodial sentences imposed by the courts show how seriously this issue is being taken. Counterfeit DVDs fund organised criminal networks and we will continue to work hard to tackle this problem.”

Commenting in the convictions Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “The activities of these pirate DVD sellers in Hackney have been a real nuisance for locals. That’s why we’re continuing to work very closely with the police, FACT and local businesses to stamp out this illegal activity.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said, “FACT is pleased to be working with Hackney Safer Neighbourhood Police and Hackney Council to deter and disrupt the overt sale of knock off DVDs in Hackney.”

To report the manufacture or sale of counterfeit DVDs call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team.

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