Games pirates walk the plank

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Games pirates walk the plank

Two men sent to the big house after ELSPA investigations.

Two men sent to the big house after ELSPA investigations.

Two games pirates have been sent to prison following separate investigations in Birmingham and Bristol.

Nicholas James Hunter, 40, of Bristol, pleaded guilty to 17 offences under the 1994 Trade Marks Act and was jailed for 18 months at Bristol Crown Court.

Leslie John Cond, also 40, of Kings Heath, Birmingham, was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court for manufacturing a large number of counterfeit games, DVDs, CDs, films and music.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of the European Leisure Software Publishers Association, claimed that the successful prosecutions proved that piracy and counterfeiting do not pay.

"These two cases prove that through patience and diligence Trading Standards, local police and the anti-piracy investigators are making it harder than ever for criminals to operate," he said.

Large stashes of illegally copied games were found at the criminals' premises in a joint operation by Trading Standards officers, local police and Anti-Piracy Unit investigators.

Hunter had been using state-of-the-art copying equipment to create pirate copies of games, and a raid in 2004 found 2,200 X-box and PC games, two computers, three duplicating towers, two printers and 500 blank discs. The authorities valued the stash at an estimated £58,000.

Meanwhile, Cond, who had previous convictions dating back a number of years for similar offences, was apprehended on his way back from a computer fair in Bristol at a police roadblock.

A search of his vehicle and his premises revealed hundreds of blank DVDs and copying equipment ready to produce another run of orders.

Both pirates will be investigated under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act to determine whether any money can be recovered.
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