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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Arrests in piracy crackdown raids
Pirate Spider-Man 2 DVDs
Police uncovered pirate Spider-Man 2 DVDs
A total of 57 people have been arrested in a weekend operation targeting music, film and computer game piracy.

Anti-fraud investigators swooped on a number of markets and car boot sales in the UK last weekend, netting over half a million pounds worth of DVDs and CDs.

The joint investigation found people selling films such as Troy, Spider-Man 2 and Shrek 2.

Of those arrested, 45 were claiming state benefits and 15 of those were investigated about benefit fraud.

Codenamed Operation Zouk, the raids took place in towns including Exeter, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Halifax and Grimsby.

More raids

They were carried out in a joint operation that also included the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Department for Work and Pensions (DwP), the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS).

Further raids are planned over the next few weeks.

David Martin, BPI director of anti-piracy, said: "Music piracy is a massive problem in the UK. The UK record industry invests tens of millions of pounds each year in new artists, which creates 365m for the UK treasury.

"Not only is that investment is under serious threat from piracy, but with about 70% of music pirates claiming benefits as well they're costing the taxpayer a fortune as well."

Nick Kounoupias, of the MCPS anti-piracy unit, said: "Counterfeiting costs us all in the long run.

"Around 10bn a year is spent on counterfeit goods and much of it is ploughed back into other criminal activity.

"On top of that the 1.7bn in lost taxes could be spent on education and health care."

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