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DAWN RAID ON ESSEX “COUNTERFEITS FACTORY”

07 May 2003

Thousands of Pounds of fake CDs, DVDs and software seized

The true costs of counterfeiting and piracy were uncovered in a lightning dawn raid by Essex police - accompanied by the BPI’s Anti-Piracy Unit and Essex Trading Standards - on two properties in Braintree, Essex, this morning.

Goods and equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds were seized including chart topping CDs by artists such as Blue, Justin Timberlake and Robbie William. Also seized were blockbuster DVDs including the latest Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films, as well as hardcore pornography. Two men have been arrested.

John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford and shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, accompanied police on the raid to see just how great a problem counterfeiting and piracy is in the region. He said:

“Counterfeiting and piracy is a menace. The UK’s creative industries lose billions every year while consumers are sold shoddy fakes, which are often not only poor quality but not the titles claimed. Local retailers and small enterprises are losing out as illegal traders are forcing them out of business.

“I congratulate Essex Police and Essex Trading Standards on their work in this field and call on everyone to be aware of the dangers involved in buying fake goods.”

Lavinia Carey, Chair of the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, said:

“Today’s raid confirms the extent of counterfeiting and piracy across the UK. The CDs, DVDs and software seized today are just the tip of the iceberg. Those who buy fakes need to know that there are strong and proven links between the people who deal in these products and organised crime. These criminals don’t care what they sell or to whom. In the past year alone, tragically, we have seen deaths from counterfeit vodka and the sale of children’s toys and clothes, which were also potentially lethal.”

David Martin, Director of Anti-Piracy Unit at the BPI, said:

“There is no way that local businesses can compete with rogue traders who sell fake CDs and pay no taxes – they are forcing Essex music shops to the very brink. The level of music piracy is now seriously inhibiting investment in the music industry so that, while it maybe okay for those artists who have already had their success, if people continue to buy fakes the money simply won’t be there to invest in the next generation of talent.”

For information about joining the Alliance please contact
Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk
or on 020 7534 0595