Multi agency swoop on counterfeit fraudsters

Ten people were arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning following raids at addresses across North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral. The arrests followed an operation to uncover rip-off merchants who claim benefits whilst making a living selling pirate DVDs to bargain hunters on Greenfield Market in Flintshire.

A multi-agency taskforce led by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) investigated allegations of benefit fraud and other illegal activity in a joint operation codenamed ‘Buzzard’.DWP Shadow Economy Teams from Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, combined forces with Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs and three police forces, resulting in thousands of counterfeit DVDs, CDs and computer games being seized with a monetary value of over £600,000.

The investigators also worked closely with organisations from the music, game and film industry including FACT investigators and FACT logistical assistance.Following the intelligence-led initiative, the ten were arrested under suspicion of being involved in the production and sale of counterfeit optical discs, and some of those arrested were also in receipt of benefits. Cash, drugs and cigarettes were also seized during the raids. Those arrested were taken to police stations in North Wales and Cheshire and are helping with further enquiries.

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