Raids last week in Manchester have closed down a pirate DVD factory and a major distribution warehouse, seizing discs with a total street value of over £65,000.
FACT and Manchester City Council Trading Standards officers raided a house in East Road, Longsight, M12 on Tuesday 3rd August after receiving intelligence that counterfeit goods were being stored there. The officers discovered a distribution centre for counterfeit goods, with piles of bogus music and film DVDs in three bedrooms.
They seized 17,000 discs of films such as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the Last Airbender and Despicable Me that have not yet gone on UK cinema release, as well as Inception which is currently showing in cinemas. None of these films are legally available yet on DVD.
A total of 77,000 printed colour inlay cards and 5,000 empty plastic DVD sleeves were also discovered.
A 46-year-old male and a 45-year-old female were arrested and released on bail while investigations are carried out.
A subsequent raid on Thursday 5th August at an address in Hillier Street North, Moston, M9 uncovered an illicit DVD ‘burning factory’ with over 14,000 films ready for onward distribution and burning towers operating when the property was entered. Tens of thousands of printed inlays with cover artwork awaiting DVDs were also seized.
David Royle, Manchester City Council’s Assistant Executive Member for the Environment, said: “I would like to praise our trading standards officers for getting these counterfeit items off the streets of Manchester.
“People who buy counterfeit DVDs may think they’re getting a good deal, but they should realise that anyone who buys them has very little chance of getting their money back if anything goes wrong.”
Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT, said: “Organised criminals continue to profit from the manufacture and sale of counterfeit DVDs across the UK and this illicit trade threatens the livelihoods of those working in the UK’s creative industries. It also damages future investment in new films and TV programmes.”
To report any criminality contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org)