Central Scotland Police made 28 arrests and seized counterfeit product valued at more than £10 million ($19 million) in what is being hailed as one of Britain’s most successful anti-piracy busts.
During the five-day operation, which concluded Tuesday (Dec. 30), officers from the Computer Crime Unit of Central Scotland Police raided 28 houses and two public markets. Investigators from the British Phonographic Industry and Federation Against Computer Theft assisted throughout the operation, which was code-named “Vendura.”
CD duplication equipment, bootlegs and counterfeit recordings of albums by artists such as Dido, Keane and Snow Patrol were among the confiscated items. “This is one of the biggest counterfeit hauls recovered in the U.K., and is easily the biggest operation ever carried out in the region,” says the BPI in a statement. The trade body’s director of anti-piracy, David Martin, describes the haul as “nothing short of remarkable.”
British retailers today welcomed news of the pre-Christmas crackdown. “We do our best to offer excellent value to our customers, but it can be very difficult competing with pirates when they flood local markets with cheap, low-grade counterfeits,” says an HMV spokesman.
Operation Vendura began several months ago, when officers from the Scottish police unit began gathering intelligence at local markets where illicit music product is traded.