Pirates shanghaied in London

Police crack down on Chinese gangs

LONDON — An investigation into the supply of pirate films has resulted in an illicit DVD plant capable of producing hundreds of thousands of fakes per week being shut down in east London.

The Metropolitan Police and Waltham Forest Trading Standards in a joint initiative with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) raided the pirate DVD manufacturing facility on Wednesday (April 5) and made five arrests. The premises contained more than 500 individual DVD burners capable of producing 60,000 pirate DVDs per day, with an estimated daily street value in excess of £250,000 ($438,000).

The raid in Leyton followed an investigation into the supply of counterfeit DVDs across London and the South East of England and involved officers from the Metropolitan Police’s new Film Piracy Unit (FPU), a joint initiative with FACT. Officers from the FPU will now conduct a detailed investigation into the finances surrounding the pirate operation.

More than 300 titles were seized in the raid, including “Ice Age 2,” which only goes on general U.K. cinema release Friday (April 7).

“We believe that the raid will have a major impact on the pirate DVD sellers operating in the local area and will help reduce the criminal activity brought into local communities by this and associated crimes,” said Gavin Douglas, group manager of public protection for the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

FACT’s director general, Raymond Leinster, added: “This operation is another major intervention against Chinese organized crime in the U.K. FACT is determined to work together with the police and other enforcement bodies to ensure that we continue to disrupt the supply chain and affect the distribution of counterfeit films across the U.K.”