Bootleg goods seized in raid

CHART CDs, computer games, DVD movies and hardcore porn films were among thousands of counterfeit items seized when police raided two properties in the Braintree area.

CHART CDs, computer games, DVD movies and hardcore porn films were among thousands of counterfeit items seized when police raided two properties in the Braintree area.

Goods and equipment discovered included pirate CDs by stars like Blue, Justin Timberlake and Robbie Williams and fake DVDs including the latest Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films.

The raids happened at two residential addresses, one in Braintree and one in Witham. A further warrant was used to enter an industrial unit in Stansted, where more counterfeit goods were seized.

Officers raiding the premises were accompanied by shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport John Whittingdale, who is also MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford.


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Mr Whittingdale joined Essex Police and Essex Trading Standards officers to view the problem of fake copies of entertainment merchandise in the region.

After observing the operation 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.

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“Local retailers and small enterprises are losing out as illegal traders are forcing them out of business.”

He added: “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.”

A 40-year-old man from Braintree and a 37-year-old man from Witham have been arrested. Trading standards are expected to proceed with prosecutions against them.

Lavinia Carey, chairman of the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, said: “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 the British Phonographic Industry's anti-piracy unit, 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 may be OK for artists who have already had their success, if people continue to buy fakes the money won't be there to invest in the next generation of talent.”

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