Counterfeit DVD box sets including Game of Thrones, CSI and The Vampire Diaries were picked up on the first day of a £2.6m police squad dedicated to fighting piracy.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested two men in Birmingham and seized DVDs with an estimated sale value of £40,000.
The 19-strong team will run alongside other units tackling economic crimes such as insurance fraud, corruption and bribery and card payment fraud.
Read Recombu Digital’s guides to the Digital Economy Act and Internet Piracy ProsecutionsCity of London police commissioner Adrian Leppard said: “Launching PIPCU we are making a statement of intent and sending out a clear warning to organised crime that the UK has just become a more hostile place for those who seek to make criminal capital on the back of others’ honest endeavours.
“Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.”
The raid followed a tip-off from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), but the anti-piracy squad will also focus on influencing online behaviour by site owners, service providers and consumers through education, prevention and enforcement activity.
The Birmingham raid saw two men, aged 28 and 29, arrested on suspicion of importing thousands of counterfeit DVD box sets and selling them online as legitimate products.
As well as helping FACT and the recording and film industries to prosecute file-sharers, PIPCU will tackle the sale and distribution of fake goods such as clothing.
“Criminals are continually finding new ways to exploit, produce fakes and abuse the intellectual property rights of British businesses, despite the progress made combating IP crime,” said Lord Younger, minister for intellectual property.
“It not only damages the UK economy, but substandard goods and services can pose real threats to consumers too. Intelligent, co-ordinated and effective enforcement is key to tackling those who exploit the hard work of others.”