Directors of Hampshire-based Protocol Systems have been summoned to appear in court after being charged with supplying pirated software to half the UK's police forces.
Three directors of the software reseller, which went into receivership last month, are to appear at City of London Magistrates Court on 19 March. They are charged with supplying counterfeit software to 23 police forces across the country between June and December 1999.
The charge, under Section 1 of the Trades Description Act 1968, is that the company supplied goods, namely computer discs, with a false description.
Protocol was a Microsoft Certified Solutions Partner, and an IBM, Compaq, Citrix and Sun equipment reseller.
The directors who will appear before the magistrates are Stephen Heagren, Geoffrey Skinner and Jacqueline Smith.
A representative from City of London Police, which has been investigating the case, said police were first alerted to the problem when Hampshire Constabulary was caught using counterfeit copies of Microsoft Office Pro 97 on its 2000-strong computer system at the end of October.
The fraud squad at City of London Police is acting on behalf of all the forces found to be using the software.
The software has penetrated the computer systems of forces as far ranging as the Royal Ulster, Cumbria and Avon and Somerset Constabularies.
Julia Phillpot, anti-piracy manager at Microsoft, said: "Microsoft takes all instances of piracy very seriously indeed and would like to warn members of the channel to watch out for pirated software. [Microsoft] is co-operating fully with police at the present time."
Neither Phillpot nor the police representative were able to comment further on the case.
First published in Computer Reseller News
Contingency plans follow Carillion's demise earlier this year
Oliver Tuszik says partners can boost subscription sales by taking a customer experience-led approach
Firm says enterprise business has performed 'weaker than originally expected'
Top executives from nine VARs, including Computacenter, Bell Integration, XMA, ANS and Epaton, weigh in on which server, storage and networking technologies will be red hot next year