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Pirate DVDs sunk; Undercover op reveals top Bafta-winning movies sold for just pounds 2.

Byline: SAM CASEY

HUNDREDS of pirate DVDs along with copying equipment were seized in a raid on a Huddersfield shop.

Police joined forces with West Yorkshire Trading Standards officials to bust the alleged counterfeiting operation on St John's Road in Birkby.

Undercover officers bought a copy of the award-winning film The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, for pounds 2 - before it has even finished its UK cinema run.

The film, which picked up a host of BAFTA awards this month, is tipped for Oscar glory on February 27 and is not yet available on DVD.

During a subsequent search of the premises, officers confiscated a haul of pirate copies and five DVD copying machines.

A 43-year-old man, from Halifax, was arrested on suspicion of producing and selling counterfeit DVDs.

He has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The operation followed a tip-off from a member of the public.

Sgt Michael Semenczuk, of Huddersfield North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Selling counterfeit DVDs is an offence that we will work with our partners to eradicate.

"In this case, we have shown that information supplied by the public will be turned into action.

"There are individuals who are making a living from crime and whether it is counterfeiting, drugs, illegal money lending or any other criminal activity we should be coming together as a community to put a stop to it.

"The public are paying for this kind of illegal activity through higher taxes, insurance premiums and shop prices."

Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: "This is another excellent example of how joint working between enforcement agencies can achieve results.

"In this instance we have uncovered a significant amount of illegal product and our actions will hopefully reinforce the message to those who continue to break the law."

According to a recent YouGov poll, nearly one in four people has knowingly bought a counterfeit DVD.

The Association of Chief Police Officers says criminal gain from counterfeiting was worth pounds 1.3billion a year.

Earlier this month, a Fartown man appeared in court on DVD counterfeiting charges.

Raza Husnain, 27, of Percy Street, is charged with making illegal copies of Disney and MGM DVDs with intent to sell them.

Suspected counterfeiting operations can be reported to police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

CAPTION(S):

REGAL: Colin Firth VIDEO NASTY: David Lodge, manager of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, with a pirate copy of The King's Speech. Below: Sacks full of alleged counterfeit DVDs (tmc180211dvds1)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2011
Words:418
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