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Dawn raids target software pirates

More than 20 arrested

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Police and Trading Standards officers launched a series of dawn raids this morning in an orchestrated crackdown on software pirates.

More than 20 people have been arrested after officers raided addresses up and down the country.

Codenamed "Operation Andrew", officials seized more than 8,500 pirate master CDs and copying equipment worth £500,000.

The raids were launched after The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) passed on intelligence concerning alleged pirating activities to police.

One man arrested today had obtained a grant to build an extension for his disabled daughter, but had used the cash instead to convert the extension into a factory for producing counterfeit games CDs.

Another held by police is a 20-year-old man who was running a pirating operation from his bedroom in his parent's house.

The discs are now undergoing forensic examinations to confirm whether they are legal or not.

If those arrested are found guilty of software piracy they face hefty fines and up to ten years in jail.

ELSPA claims piracy costs the UK video games industry a whopping £3 billion every year. ®

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