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Pirates caught out

Trouble on the high seas! Oh alright, at a car boot sale in some place called Wombourne.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

In scenes probably not very reminiscent of The Siege or even Beverly Hills Cop, police [winged? -Ed] swooped on software pirates at a Staffordshire car boot sale on Sunday.

The officers seized 20,000 pirated game discs with an estimated street value of more than half a million pounds.

In total, 20 stalls were found to be selling illegal goods at the boot sale in Himley, Wombourne. As well as pirated games, police nabbed bootleg CDs, DVDs and business software, plus 30,000 dodgy fags and an undisclosed number of Viagara tablets.

Doom 3 was top of the pirate gaming hit parade, being the most prevalent title on sale. Officers also nabbed a small amount of previously unseen pirated GameCube titles.

The raid was supported by Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) and the local Trading Standards office, amongst others. Two individuals from the West Midlands area have been reported for offences against the 1994 Trade Marks Act, and could go down for it.

"This case illustrates the way in which piracy poses a threat to members of the public - allowing titles containing unregulated adult-rated content to be sold illegally without the enforcement of our rigorous ratings system, which is strictly adhered to by legitimate retail outlets," said ELSPA director general Roger Bennett.

ELSPA estimates that the cost of piracy to the UK games industry amounts to more than £2 billion a year. It also claims there are proven links between piracy and drug dealing, pornography and terrorism.

Anyone with information on computer games piracy is advised to contact their local police or trading standards office, or call the ELSPA anti-piracy unit hotline on 08705 133 405.

They didn't say what anyone with information on drug dealing, pornography or terrorism should do. Panic, probably.

Rumours that every single police officer in Staffordshire will be "having a quiet one this weekend, just staying in and maybe watching a few DVDs or something" are completely untrue.

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