Eight British pirates and their illegal game ring were brought down by European gaming and film organizations.
Barry Powell, age 29 of Ormskirk, Lancashire; Mark Quincey of Skelmersdale, Lancashire; and Sarah Haynes of Skelmersdale have been imprisoned for 12, 15 and 9 months after pleading guilty for selling thousands of counterfeit games and CDs. The organization operated from the leaders' homes, generating revenue in excess of £40,000 during its six-month operation. Five additional members faced the following sentences:
- Philip Brockelhurst, 20 - Three months detention in a young offenders institute for conspiracy to defraud (suspended).
- Gary Clark, 20 - Three months suspended sentence.
- Christopher Haynes, 21, and Susan Powel, 32, were ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
- Elvio Perestrello was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Morrow QC at Liverpool Crown Court stated in his sentencing, "I want to send a deterrence message to any people who may think counterfeiting is an easy way to make a lot of money."
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of Europe's Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), commented: "ELSPA would like to thank everyone involved for their work and helping to protect local traders and the general community from the effects of pirated goods. Our investigators will continue to work closely with other trade bodies and enforcement agencies. The simple fact about piracy of video games, music and films is illegal and punishable by fines, Community Service and jail sentences. No matter which way you look at counterfeiting it is nothing more than theft. Counterfeiters are only out for one thing: money. And because of this consumers who buy counterfeit games have no recourse under law for faulty goods."