Six Arrested in Crack Down on Organised Crime Illegal Trade in Counterfeit CDs and DVDs

  • Government IP Minister Supports Anti-Counterfeiting Operation Driven by BPI and FACT Intelligence
  • Investigation into Three Major Manchester Markets Uncovers Links to Organised Crime

28 November 2011, London – Six market traders suspected of producing and selling vast quantities of counterfeit CDs and DVDs were arrested during a series of raids co-ordinated by Greater Manchester Police as part of a wider initiative to crack down on organised crime.

Intelligence gathered by BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry), FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), Greater Manchester Police, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Trading Standards from Salford and Manchester, and the Department for Work and Pensions, identified a number of suspects that have been profiting from the sale of counterfeit goods at three major Manchester markets: Salford Market, Greymare Lane Market and Conran Street Market.

The Government Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox, joined the strikes which took place on Friday 25th November. The Operation, Project Gulf, led by Greater Manchester Police and its partners, will strike a blow to the counterfeit trade, especially in the run up to Christmas.

The recovered pirate CDs and DVDs – with a street value of tens of thousands of pounds – included new music releases from Rihanna, Michael Buble and The Saturdays, and movie releases Puss In Boots, yet to be released in UK cinemas, and Moneyball, which was only released last Friday. Other items retrieved include imitation firearms, knives, and Class A drugs. The suspects have been released on bail pending further investigation.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said: “The Intellectual Property Office has played an important part in helping to collect the intelligence for this operation in Manchester. It is fantastic to see so many organisations working together to disrupt criminal activity.

“The Government has already worked with the Crown Prosecution Service to develop training which will equip prosecutors to deal effectively with cases involving counterfeit goods. And we will continue to work with Trading Standards, the Police and CPS to share information and disrupt this type of criminal activity.”

BPI Director of Anti-Piracy, David Wood, representing the recorded music sector, said: “Physical music piracy costs the record business more than £100million per year – a significant percentage of industry revenue. Buying and selling these fake CDs and DVDs strips artists of a fair reward for their music and deprives record companies – both big and small – of the capital required to invest in exciting new artists, merchandise and products that music fans deserve.

“We would like to thank Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council, and Salford Council for their professionalism and diligence in undertaking this collaborated approach to target the organised crime gangs who are manufacturing and distributing counterfeit CDs and DVD.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added: “FACT and the BPI have been working for some time to gather detailed intelligence on the major organised criminal elements controlling the sale of counterfeit film, TV and music discs on markets across Greater Manchester.

“Traders in counterfeit goods are harming the livelihoods of legitimate traders and businesses and impacting on livelihoods of the hard working people who work in the UK’s creative industries.

“This operation proves the effectiveness of a multi-agency approach to tackling serious criminality, coordinated by Greater Manchester Police who have shown exemplary leadership.”

Manchester Evening News article

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