Police have recovered counterfeit software with a value in excess of #1 million, following a series of raids around Wolverhampton.
Five men were arrested after a three-month surveillance operation jointly conducted by the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) and the local Trading Standards Authority.
The case highlights the rising incidence of internet-based theft. The men allegedly used a Website to advertise, sell and distribute the counterfeit material. They were duplicating and distributing illegal CD compilations made up by rival bootleggers as competition within the illegal channel increased.
Two CD factories and market outlets were included in the raids and nine premises were searched. More than 600 CD-Roms, all believed to be counterfeit, were recovered, along with CD writers, computers and blank CDs.
Robin Lawrence, head of Fast's digital crime unit, said: 'The illegal software industry is increasingly competitive. This gang had an A to Z of counterfeit products.'
Inquiries are continuing and follow-up raids have not been ruled out.
The five men were granted bail.
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