A drugs raid on a house in Edinburgh has led to the unexpected discovery of a huge number of harmful weapons, alongside drugs and an extensive collection of counterfeit DVDs.
As part of the raid, Lothian and Borders Police seized around 10,000 counterfeit DVDs, three DVD burning towers and a computer, as well as various weapons such as swords and knives from a house in the Howdenhall area last week.
Chief Inspector Donnie MacKinnon, from Lothian and Borders police said: “This is a significant discovery and a great result for our officers. The illegal production and sale of counterfeit DVDs is something that Lothian and Borders Police take very seriously.”
“It is important to stress that this is not a victimless crime and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to crack down on copyright criminals.”
Among the weapons recovered during the search was a stun gun.
The DVD stash is reported to have been worth at least £50,000, and the equipment is believed to have been used as part of a large-scale counterfeit goods operation, supplying thousands of pirated DVDs to the public. Incredibly, the discovery was unexpectedly made during an intelligence-led drugs operation, focussing on that particular area of the city.
Officials from FACT have confirmed that the discovery of pirate DVDs, weapons and large quantities of drugs during the same raid reveal the close relationship between high organised crime and counterfeit activity.
Although no arrests have been made, a 40 year old man has been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with the raid. FACT officials are due to deliver a report in light of the seized material, and will then recommend whether or not an arrest should be made.
FACT Director General, Kieron Sharp, said: “The seizure of a large quantity of illegal drugs alongside counterfeit film and TV production highlights the serious criminal intent of those involved in film and TV piracy.”
This particular counterfeit operation is not the first to be uncovered in Edinburgh. In April 2008 police received a tip off in regard to illegal activity in the Oxgangs area, which led to the discovery of £750,000 worth of counterfeit goods. The recovered material included 5975 DVDs, 2300 MP3 discs, 885 pornographic DVDs, 868 computer software discs and 300 video games.
The counterfeit trade, according to police, is generally connected to more serious criminal activities and has even been linked with terror organisations, which are said to use the trade as a means of raising funds and laundering cash.
The selling and buying of pirated DVD's is also believed to have had a startling effect on the decline of Capital cinema audience figures. Film piracy, studios claim, is costing worldwide industries millions each year, with FACT estimating that the UK industry suffers a total loss of £450 million a year. Similarly, the Motion Picture Association of America claims the illegal trade costs the industry a massive £1.7 billion a year worldwide.