Pirate DVDs and fake Viagra seized

PUBLISHED: 13:20 21 August 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

Stewart Aitken, head of investigations with some of the titles seized

Stewart Aitken, head of investigations with some of the titles seized

A dawn operation in Wisbech 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. The haul, which included controlled drugs such as Viagra, w

David Broughton

A dawn operation in Wisbech 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.

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 swooped on the Wisbech Market, off Salters Way and seized goods from four stalls worth a High Street value of around half a million pounds.

The seizure included pirated DVDs, CDs, MP3, 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.

The operation also included representatives from the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the British Phonographic Institute.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor John Reynolds, who was on the raid, said: "This operation went very well and I am pleased that we were able to seize this amount of goods. 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. This was a joint operation and its success was down to the close relationship and professionalism that exists between ourselves and our colleagues from the police and other agencies."

Sergeant Sharon Burrell of Cambridgeshire Police said: "This operation was a success due to the close collaboration between ourselves and Trading Standards. We used joint intelligence to focus on where we believed criminals would operate. 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.

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

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