Monday 16th February/… Raids on two separate Scottish addresses to investigate an illegal counterfeiting operation have lead to the arrest of two people in the Highlands. Following the raids last Friday – the 13th – a large number of items including consoles and games were seized as part of the ongoing fight against Intellectual Properly (IP) Crime by investigators from ELSPA (the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) working in partnership with the local police and trading standards.
Prior to the raids, investigators from ELSPA and Highland Council Trading Standards made several test purchases yielding a number of counterfeit games. The packaging of these games even featured advertisements encouraging buyers to purchase further counterfeit titles. Chipping equipment was seized and is undergoing forensic examination.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA, said: “Friday’s raids were the result of a very thorough and professional investigation by Highland Council Trading Standards and our own diligent investigators. It highlights our commitment to stop in their tracks illegitimate traders – those prepared to profit unfairly from the creativity and hard work of others. Last Friday, the 13th, was indeed unlucky for this thieving duo.”
Alistair Thomson Head of Environmental Health and Trading Standards said: “This operation shows that we will not tolerate anyone selling counterfeit goods in Highland. The supply of counterfeit goods has strong links to organised crime and not only affects the people who develop and produce the genuine items but also the local businesses who sell them and the innocent consumers who are duped into buying them. We work closely with Northern Constabulary and ELSPA in our sustained fight against this type of product counterfeiting.”
D.S. Alex Chisholm from Northern Constabulary’s Central Division Pro-active Team continued: “We will continue to carry out intelligence-led operations like this with our partners to target those involved in organised crime within our force area.”