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Major UK Chipping Operation Blitzed

One of the UK's most wanted chipping criminals prosecuted

Friday 15th February/... A raid at a house in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire has resulted in the prosecution of a man who has allegedly been making money through modifying consoles using circumvention devices, also known as‘chipping’. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was targeted for being one of the top‘chippers’ in the UK.

The warrant for the raid under powers provided by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was carried out in January by plain clothes officers from Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards in partnership with Staffordshire Police at a trade premises. The building had proven difficult to gain entry to due to there being no obvious entrance.

A large quantity of video game console circumnavigation devices (‘chips’) were recovered together with 20 Microsoft? Xbox 360™ and four Nintendo? Wii™ consoles. This had followed months of investigations by Staffordshire Trading Standards and several test purchases undertaken by ELSPA (the Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association) IP Crime Unit investigators. One of the test purchase involved sending off a regular Xbox 360 to be chipped and the other the purchase of a pre-chipped Wii.

Besides the consoles, 200 chips and two PCs were also seized and forwarded to ELSPA experts for forensic examination.

The man was arrested and taken to police stations in Stoke-on Trent where he assisted the police with further enquiries. A POCA (Proceeds Of Crime Act) investigation has already started to estimate the criminal gain from his illegal activities. The man has been bailed to appear before Staffordshire police at a later date.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA said:“This raid came as a result of a thorough and professional investigation by Staffordshire Trading Standards department and ELSPA investigators and proves that increasing numbers of games criminals are paying the price for pursuing illegal chipping business activities.”

Brandon Cook, Head of Fraud&Community Safety for Staffordshire County Council, added:“This operation has been a great success and will send a message out to others that illegal chipping and counterfeiting will be investigated and offenders prosecuted. The purchase of counterfeit games affects genuine local businesses and the economy as well as proven links to serious organised crime. You can report suspected counterfeiters and sellers anonymously on 01785 330 356.”

Ends.

EDITORS NOTES

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

ELSPA (The Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA’s activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately?600 million.

Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.

Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.

Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Tom Sargent/Laura West

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: tom.sargent@bhpr.co.uk/ laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW

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