Police seize biggest batch of counterfeit CDs ever found at Manchester Airport – taking on piracy ahead of Christmas

By Matt Davies

The biggest batch of counterfeit CDs ever seized was stopped at Manchester Airport – only weeks before Christmas.

Almost £250,000 of fake CDs was seized by police and Border Force officers at Manchester Airport, stopping them from being smuggled into the UK.

Officers acted in cooperation with piracy investigators from music organisations BPI and IFPI to stop the freight that arrived at the airport on a flight from Hong Kong.

Detective Superintendent Tony Crampton of the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate highlighted the importance of tackling the issue of piracy ahead of the Christmas holidays.

“This week’s co-ordinated raids demonstrate how seriously we take the issue of counterfeiting and has in the run up to Christmas, significantly disrupted the criminal distribution of counterfeit CD’s throughout the UK,” he said.

“Counterfeiting is a crime that costs the country tens of millions in lost tax, damages legitimate business and often deceives the general public into paying good money for sub-standard fake products.”

The haul, weighing 1.2 tonnes, was found when Border Force officials checked the freight container and discovered illegally copied CDs by a whole host of artists.

Described as car MP3s on the official documents accompanying the freight, it is estimated that the captured goods have a street value of more than £245,000.

BPI Director of Anti-Piracy David Wood said the investigation had smashed an international crime operation which is littering the UK with fake goods, especially music CDs and DVDs.

“Each year the record industry loses approximately £100million as a direct result of the trade in counterfeit music goods, putting legitimate music traders at risk of closure in these tough economic times,” he said.

BPI acts as a representative for the music industry, including the countries four major record labels and is responsible for about 90% of all recorded music sold in the UK.

IFPI also act as a representative for the music industry, aiming to protect the rights of music producers and artists with a major focus on anti-piracy.

Jeremy Banks, director of anti-piracy at IFPI, explained that by working together with police and border officials, they are able to be successful in the fight against counterfeit goods entering the UK.

“This operation shows how effective the close cooperation between industry and law enforcement can be in disrupting illegal businesses whose sole aim is to profit at the expense of rights holders in the UK and around the world.”

In other co-ordinated raids, a further 20,000 CDs were seized by City of London Police officers and a man from Morecambe was subsequently interviewed regarding the haul.

The investigation remains on-going.

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