Twelve month prison sentence for illegal DVD shop owner
Mohammed Bashir, aged 30 of Bradford was sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence at Leeds Crown Court on 14 November 2014 after pleading guilty to six sample offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and participating in a fraudulent business.
The case related to illegal trading of counterfeit and pirate copy DVDs from Jav’s video shop on Brudenell Road, Leeds, opposite the independent cinema Hyde Park cinema house.
After receipt of complaints about the business, officers from West Yorkshire trading standards service carried out a number of test purchases of pirate copy DVDs before carrying out a seizure of copied DVDs from JAV’s in November 2012. Mohammed Bashir was arrested and advised on interview that he bought the DVDs from a man who came into the shop every week. The shop was purely set up for the illegal supply of copied DVDs, often selling titles currently showing at cinemas and not yet released to the DVD market.
The shop displayed very old videos on the shop floor and there was no evidence of these being rented out, this was merely just a cover for the supply of illegal DVD’s. Over 1700 copied DVDs were seized along with folders containing copies of film covers. These folders were used for customers to flick through to decide what copied DVD to purchase. A mobile phone seized from Mohammed Bashir was forensically examined and revealed messages that related to the manufacture of the copied DVDs.
Despite the seizure of copied DVD’s from Jav’s in November 2012, the shop continued selling copied DVD’s. In January 2013 a further test purchase was made by WYTSS. In March 2013 a further test purchase was made and officers then carried out a further inspection at JAV’s and approximately 500 copied DVD’s were seized and an employee arrested.
In June 2013 the shop changed its name to Star Media and the videos on the shop shelves had been replaced by DVD’s. Further test purchase of copied DVDs were made in August and September 2013.
Officers then visited the premises in September 2013, where Mohammed Bashir was caught red handed by officers delivering the copied DVD’s to the shop.
In total over 3500 DVD’s were seized from the premises. The loss to the film industry on these discs alone equates to over £25,000.
The judge in summing up stated: “It was an aggravating factor that you took on the business knowing it was an illegal business. You had ample opportunity to be remorseful and stop this illegal business, but you continued regardless”.
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire tading standards service says, “This is a great result, this business has been a persistent problem and repeatedly sold illegal DVDs. The Service has received numerous complaints about the business, with the shop taking trade away from local legitimate enterprises including an independent cinema house directly across the road to the shop.”
Councillor Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire trading standards committee, said “This is another great result for West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service in its battle against illegal trading within West Yorkshire. Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime and we are pleased that the courts have recognised the serious nature of this offence by imposing a custodial sentence for this type of offending.”
Consumers wanting to report the sale of counterfeit goods should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.