A Birmingham PC retailer has been raided in a joint operation between the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) and local police, smashing a multimillion pound software piracy ring.
West Midlands Police officers, Birmingham City Trading Standards officers and ELSPA crime unit investigators raided the retailer, which cannot be named, at 11.15am on 10 November.
The raid led to the arrest of the 49-year-old male owner of the shop and his 18-year-old son. More than £340,000 of goods were seized. The operation is believed to be the largest UK games counterfeiting operation to be smashed.
During a search of the store, 40 PCs were discovered - some of which were still in the process of copying games. More than 2,000 suspect counterfeit PlayStation games and about 5,000 blank discs were also uncovered. A substantial sum of cash was also recovered from under the shop's floorboards.
Terry Anslow, chief investigator of the ELSPA Crime Unit, said: "This raid has significantly dented the problem of counterfeiting that exists in the West Midlands area. Removing this extensive production of illegal software from the market in the lead up to the Christmas period, will significantly help consumers and local businesses and hopefully deter others from pirating games."
ELSPA estimates the UK games industry loses more than £3bn to software piracy every year.
- Japanese Fair Trading officials raided 30 Sega offices, including its headquarters, last week. They were investigating allegations that the console giant had attempted to fix Dreamcast retail pricing.
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