Two men, who peddled a while-you-wait console chipping service at a Midlands computer fair while simultaneously selling pre-chipped Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii consoles have been arrested.
The men, who operated a stand alongside other genuine businessmen, were caught offering the ‘service’ at the Robin Park Sports Centre in Wigan, where it was also discovered they were selling a number of illegally copied Xbox 360 and Wii games and a number of counterfeit DVD films.
The warrant for the raid, obtained and executed under the Trade Marks Act 1994, was carried out on the evening of 16th January at the Robin Park computer fair by officers of Greater Manchester Police and Wigan Trading Standards following investigative test purchases made by ELSPA’s (the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) I.P. Crime Unit.
One of the two men arrested, who, like his partner-in-crime, cannot be named until further investigations have been carried out, was a resident of the West Midlands. Consequently Wolverhampton City Council Trading Standards Service, West Midlands Police and ELSPA investigators executed an entry warrant at his home in Dudley where it was discovered he was running a functioning chipping factory in his garage. Further documents found at the premises resulted in the execution of a further raid at a business premises in the Wolverhampton area on 17th January from where other counterfeiting equipment was seized.
The second arrested man was a resident of Leyland in Preston, Lancashire, and during the search of his house a substantial quantity of Wii and Xbox 360 games were recovered.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA said: The raid at The Robin Park Sports Complex highlights the ongoing commitment demonstrated by local Trading Standards authorities in stamping this kind of operation out. 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.
Julie Middlehurst, Wigan’s Chief Trading Standards Officer, added: This operation shows that we will not tolerate anyone selling counterfeit goods in Wigan, and will take the appropriate action. Counterfeit good not only affect the people who produce the genuine goods but local businesses who sell them.
We’d like to thank Robin Park Sports Centre for its co-operation. It has enabled us to remove any illegal activity from what is an otherwise thoroughly honest and well-respected event.
Peter Calvert, Wolverhampton Trading Standards Service Manager, said: The Wolverhampton part of this operation is part of a sustained effort to fight product counterfeiting in the City. Selling fake items is designed to dupe innocent consumers, harm the livelihoods of honest traders and line the pockets of the greedy