Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bootleg Movie Seller Nabbed; ARREST LEADS TO DISCOVERY OF HUGE HAUL OF ILLEGAL GOODS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bootleg Movie Seller Nabbed; ARREST LEADS TO DISCOVERY OF HUGE HAUL OF ILLEGAL GOODS

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM JUPP

TOXIC tobacco and dodgy DVDs have been seized as part of probe into Tyneside's black market.

The investigation was sparked when a man was stopped after acting suspiciously in Newcastle city centre.

He was found with a rucksack packed full of bootleg movies, including scores of illegal X-rated titles, which he was trying to peddle to passers-by.

That led to a raid on a house on Fairholm Road, Benwell, in the city's West End, where an Aladdin's Cave of knock-off gear was found.

Officers recovered hundreds more DVDs, along with computer equipment it is believed may have been used to produce the illegal copies.

And scores of pouches of counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco were also seized.

The packets are understood to have been imported from the continent and made to look like genuine Golden Virginia products.

But it is feared the tobacco could include dangerous chemicals like arsenic and lead and may have gone on to be sold to children.

Along with the 35-year-old, who was originally arrested in the vicinity of Grey's Monument, a woman, 27, and a man, 30, were held after the search of the house.

They are now being investigated by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) on suspicion of immigration offences.

Meanwhile, Newcastle City Council trading standards officers are continuing their probe into the trade of the bogus items.

Team manager Dave Ellerington said: "The trade in counterfeit goods like this has a real impact on legitimate traders in the city, and across the region as a whole.

"This case shows clearly how the trade in one illegal commodity can be directly linked to the trade in others.

"People may think buying a fake DVD or a cheap packet of tobacco does no harm but the profits almost always lead back to organised crime groups.

"Clearly, we want to protect people, particularly children, from the trade in illegal and pornographic material, such as that found during this seizure.

"And in the case of the tobacco, there is a danger these goods could be sold to people who are under-age, while there are potentially huge health implications if the products are found to be counterfeit and containing other substances. …

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