ARTICLES | March 21st, 2007
Branston Pirate In Pickle

Staffordshire market trader who was caught by Trading Standards officers with thousands of illegally copied games and counterfeit DVDs at his Branston home could face jail.

Jason Andrew Duesbury, 37, of Branston ? a suburb of Burton, Staffordshire, admitted 17 offences under the Trademarks Act, following a private prosecution brought by Staffordshire County Council at Burton Magistrates Court on 7th March. Trading Standards officers, police and ELSPA investigators swooped on Duesbury?s home on 22nd September last year, where more than 300 illegally copied Xbox and PlayStation 2 games together with over 1,500 counterfeit DVDs were discovered in an upstairs office of the premises. A stash of adult films were also seized in the raid.

A PC and memory stick, as well as four duplicators and three chipped Xbox consoles, were also seized. Trading Standards staff worked with ELSPA investigators and other industry experts to establish that all 2,000-plus titles were counterfeit and bore unauthorised trademarks, the court heard.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: ?ELSPA would like to thank everyone involved for their work instigating this investigation and helping to protect local traders and the general community from the effects of pirated goods.?

Roger Constantine, prosecuting, said: Duplicators have one use and one use only ? that is to make copies of discs. All the items seized were taken back to Stafford, where Trading Standards officers worked with representatives from the industry to establish that all the discs were counterfeit copies with unauthorised trademarks.

The computer contained programmes to decrypt security devices which usually prevent authentic discs from being copied, and the memory stick included artwork for inlays and covers for Xbox games and films.

Mr Constantine added: This is often described as victimless crime, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are the companies that produce the original items which lose money, but it also hits the trader in the high street, who loses out through people selling counterfeits on the markets.

Duesbury, who usually sold jewellery on his market stall, admitted trading in and producing pirated and counterfeit material when questioned. He said he had been trading in the illegal items for around a year and knew that he was breaking the law.

The case was adjourned until 2nd April for pre-sentence reports. Magistrates warned Duesbury that his case may be transferred to Staffordshire Crown Court for sentencing, as the maximum six months in jail that they are allowed to impose may not be sufficient.

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