Dawn raid on market pirates

PUBLISHED: 12:27 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010

David Broughton, of Cambridgeshire trading standards department, finds DVDs during a search of a van

David Broughton, of Cambridgeshire trading standards department, finds DVDs during a search of a van

A DAWN operation at a Fenland market to crack down on traders selling pirate copies of DVDs and CDs has netted nearly £500,000 worth of fake goods, one of the largest hauls ever seized in Cambridgeshire. Four people were arrested on suspicion of committi

Stewart Aitken, head of investigations and inquiries for Cambridgeshire County Council, with some of the titles seized in the raid

A DAWN operation at a Fenland market to crack down on traders selling pirate copies of DVDs and CDs has netted nearly £500,000 worth of fake goods, one of the largest hauls ever seized in Cambridgeshire.

Four people were arrested on suspicion of committing offences against the Trademarks Act and have been bailed pending further enquiries.

The haul, which included controlled drugs such as Viagra, was seized in a joint operation by Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards and police officers.

On Friday teams arrived at the Wisbech Market, off Salters Way, and seized goods from four stalls with a high street value of about half a million pounds.

The seizure included pirated DVDs, CDs, MP3s, computers and copying equipment as well as suspected counterfeit drugs.

Some of the films seized have not yet been on released on DVD in the UK and included blockbusters such as Miami Vice, Cars and Monster House. The seizure also included hardcore pornography that should not be on sale in a market.

Customs and Excise were also involved in the operation and seized a large amount of tobacco, including 10,000 cigarettes.

Officers then searched premises in the Marshland St James area and seized DVDs and computer equipment.

The raid followed months of investigations and intelligence gathering.

Cambridgeshire county councillor John Reynolds, who was on the raid, said: "It is extremely worrying to find items such as controlled drugs and illegal pornography on sale. We and our colleagues in the police want to send a clear message to people who are carrying out this sort of activity - we are watching and we will find you.

"This type of practice is unacceptable in Cambridgeshire. There are clear links between this type of trade and organised crime, such as the drug industry and terrorism. It also has a devastating effect on the music and film industry.

Sergeant Sharon Burrell, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: "This is not a victimless crime and we will continue to work closely with other agencies to stamp this out in the county."

David Martin, director of anti-piracy for the British Phonographic Institute, said: "I am grateful for the professional assistance of Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards officers. This operation has succeeded in sending a clear message to illegal traders. Music piracy is a very severe problem, not only affecting record companies and artists, but also it badly hits local retailers who employ staff, pay business rates and contribute to the local economy.

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