5 arrested in U.K.'s largest piracy seizure

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LONDON -- Five people were arrested last week in the largest-ever seizure of pirated DVDs in the U.K., the Federation Against Copyright Theft said Tuesday.

About 800,000 pirated DVDs with a street value of more than £2 million ($4 million) were found in a raid on premises in Dudley, West Midlands. Counterfeit music CDs and video games also were seized.

The action was the result of an intelligence-led joint operation conducted by West Midlands Police, FACT, Trading Standards, music trade group the British Phonographic Industry and games business lobby the Entertainment Leisure Software Publishers Assn.

The pirate DVD operation was centered on a shop in Dudley High Street, where a concealed entrance opened into an upstairs floor containing DVD burners and PCs.

The premises were also guarded by extensive CCTV coverage.

Movies were arranged by film type and in alphabetical order to facilitate what was described by FACT as a counterfeit DVD "wholesale business."

It is believed the enterprise was supplying a large number of traders across the West Midlands with pirated DVDs, CDs and video games.

"This is a substantial blow to a sophisticated and sizable counterfeiting operation trading in illegal copies of films and TV shows," FACT director general Kieron Sharp said.
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