Girl, 15, arrested in police raid on 'illegal DVD' factory
POLICE have busted an illegal DVD copying factory in London's East End in a raid in which a schoolgirl was arrested. They uncovered a huge 'Aladdin's Cave' of illicit disks including porn and copying equipment in a raid on a flat in Stepney's Commercial-rd yesterday (Wed)
By Mike Brooke
POLICE have busted an illegal DVD copying factory in London's East End in a raid in which a schoolgirl was arrested.
They uncovered a huge 'Aladdin's Cave' of illicit disks including porn and copying equipment in the raid on a first-floor flat in Stepney's Commercial-road at 11am yesterday (Wednesday).
Officers responded to a 999 call when the leaseholder was unable to get into his flat.
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They found four men and a teenage girl on the premises after forcing their way in.
The flat was set up as a counterfeit DVD factory, said police, with 95 burners capable of producing 60,000 knock off DVDs a week with a potential street value of £190,000.
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The four men found in the flat, aged 23, 25, 27 and 28, were arrested together with the 15-year-old girl, for alleged offences under the 1994 Trademarks Act and the 1984 Video Recordings Act.
The police operation was in partnership with the local authority and the record industry's own Federation Against Copyright Theft.
Pol Chief Ins Rob Revill said: "We will continue working to target these illegal DVD factories. This is an excellent result."
Officials from Tower Hamlets Trading Standards and the Copyright Federation later confiscated 8,000 DVDs, all said to be illegal copies of both mainstream titles and hardcore pornography.
Titles seized included Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who, The Bank Job and Step Up 2 The Streets.
The federation's Director General, Kieron Sharp, said after the Stepney bust: "We are able to better target 'factories' such as this working with the police and local authority.
"We are able to reduce the profits made by organised criminal networks and reduce crime which follows such illegal activity."
It was also a feather in the Town Hall cap after a recent spate of court summonses when Thames magistrates handed out prison sentences to illicit DVD sellers along Whitechapel.
Tower Hamlets Trading Standards manager John McCrohan said: "This is an enormous haul for us.
"Police came across this 'DVD factory' and contacted us for support. It follows a number of planned raids in the area."
The joint operation is likely to continue with police and the record industry, he warned, to clamp down on the illegal trade sweeping East London.