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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 12:55 GMT
Raids net bumper pirated games haul
Hand putting CD into computer drive
Pirated CDs cost the games industry billions each year
A series of raids across the UK has netted one of the largest ever hauls of pirated games CDs.

Over 8,500 CDs as well as copying equipment worth a total of half a million pounds was seized in raids at over 20 addresses.

Code named Operation Andrew, the raids on Monday were the culmination of intelligence work by games industry trade association, ELSPA, and the Trading Standards Authority.

The arrested suspects included a 20-year-old whose parents were unaware that he was running a pirate operation from his bedroom and a man who had made enough money from his sales to take four holidays abroad while claiming state benefit, according to ELSPA, (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association).

More raids to come

How to spot pirated games
Never buy from street traders, car boot sales or door-to-door salesmen
Check packaging. Avoid poor quality or photocopied labels, those with no barcode or holographic seal
Most genuine PlayStation 2 games are blue on the back
Anyone with information on piracy should contact ELSPA on 0870 513 3405
One of the men arrested had obtained a grant ostensibly for the purposes of building an extension for his disabled daughter.

But ELSPA said he had used the room as a pirating factory for counterfeit game CDs.

All suspects could face large fines and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

"This was the first time we have performed such an operation on a nationwide basis with Trading Standards," said John Hillier, Manager of ELSPA's anti-piracy unit.

"And it's not over yet. There are still people out there who will be getting visits from enforcement bodies as a result of this operation," he added.

According to ELSPA, the UK games industry loses 3bn every year to piracy.

In 80% of the raids carried out by ELSPA there is evidence of other criminal activity, including drug-trafficking, pornography and even terrorism, it said.

See also:

13 Oct 02 | Technology
23 Sep 02 | Entertainment
28 Aug 02 | Entertainment
27 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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