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Unedited press release follows:
Officers from the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate have seized fake CDs with a street value of over £245,000.
Working with Border Force officers at Manchester Airport, the joint operation supported by anti-piracy investigators from music organisations BPI and IFPI, stopped the largest ever consignment of counterfeit CDs from being smuggled into the UK.
Weighing in at 1.2 tonnes the fake CDs were discovered when Border Force officers at Manchester Airport inspected freight that had arrived on a flight from Hong Kong in early December. The accompanying paperwork described the goods as car MP3s but when officers checked the load they discovered illegally copied CDs by artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift.
In co-ordinated raids, a further 20,000 CDs were also seized by City of London Police officers at a separate address and a man from Morecambe was subsequently interviewed regarding the haul and the investigation remains ongoing.
Detective Superintendent Tony Crampton of the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate said, “Counterfeiting is a crime that costs the country tens of millions in lost tax, damages legitimate business and often deceives the general public into paying good money for sub-standard fake products. This weeks co-ordinated raids demonstrate how seriously we take the issue of counterfeiting and has in the run up to Christmas, significantly disrupted the criminal distribution of counterfeit CD’s throughout the UK”.
Commenting on the operation, BPI Director of Anti-Piracy David Wood said,
“Today’s joint investigation led by the City of London Police, and supported by expert anti-piracy investigators from BPI and IFPI, has smashed a large-scale international counterfeit operation flooding the UK with fake goods, including thousands of music CDs and DVDs.
“Each year the record industry loses approximately £100 million as a direct result of the trade in counterfeit music goods, putting legitimate music traders at risk of closure in these tough economic times.”
Jeremy Banks, director, anti-piracy at IFPI, added, “This operation shows how effective the close cooperation between industry and law enforcement can be in disrupting illegal businesses whose sole aim is to profit at the expense of rights holders in the UK and around the world.”