A prolific counterfeiter was sentenced to three-and-a-half year’s imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court this week, after he was caught with an estimated quarter of a million pounds worth of pirated merchandise.
John Lamb, 45, of Llanharan near Bridgend, South Wales pleaded guilty to 22 counts of Trade Mark offences and five Video Recording offences involving the production of pirated copies of games, films and business software applications. Another 35 offences were taken into consideration in sentencing. The tough sentence Lamb received reflected the fact that he recommenced his counterfeit business from a different address using a second set of equipment while awaiting trial for his first set of offences. He was subsequently arrested for a second time.
In court, Lamb was variously described as “one of the UK’s foremost retailers of counterfeit computer-based products” and a purveyor of hard-core pornography too extreme to be sold in mainstream sex shops, PA reports.
Lamb's case followed an 18-month investigation headed by ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) and Torfaen Trading Standards along with South Wales Police and the BPI (British Phonographic Institute). The investigation, which involved two raids on the offender’s property, revealed he was running a massive counterfeiting business named the ‘Brian Green Software Café’. Lamb promoted his extensive selection of counterfeit products with an equally wide ranging spamming campaign. Evidence was found of one order for a computer program valued at approximately £12,000 being sold for just ten pounds.
A Torfaen Council spokesperson said: “This is a very important prosecution that has stopped a significant amount of pornographic material, copied computer games, utilities and films being sold locally, nationally and internationally. It is a victory for the whole community that this activity has been stopped.”
Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA, said the prosecution culminated in the longest prison sentence it has seen handed down to a games pirate. "It is gratifying to see the courts are now taking piracy seriously and enforcing suitably severe sentences," he said. ®