A 21-year-old man caught red-handed selling and copying pirated DVDs at a Bradford shop has been jailed for nine months and ordered to pay more than £8,000 costs.
Mohammed Waheed told Trading Standards officers he knew what he was doing was illegal when they raided the Twilight store inn Legrams Lane and seized 5,334 counterfeit discs, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Waheed, of Harlow Road, Lidget Green, Bradford, pleaded guilty to two offences of counterfeiting under the trademark legislation.
Prosecutor Freddie Apfel told the court yesterday Waheed was working alone in the shop and the copying machine was on when it was raided a year ago.
Each pirated DVD was estimated to cause a £7.25 loss to the industry and the haul seized from Waheed would equate to almost £40,000 in lost revenue, Mr Apfel said.
Waheed told the court he had worked as an assistant in the shop for a man called Sajid Mahmood who was the driving force behind the business.
He stated he had met Mr Mahmood at Cannon Mills Shopping VIllage, in Little Horton, Bradford. He was selling DVDs there and wanted to open a shop.
Waheed said he rented the premises from one of his relatives and Mr Mahmood took the keys and controlled the business.
But the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, said he doubted if Mr Mahmood existed.
Waheed’s barrister, Imran Khan, said his client was “naive, immature and unsophisticated”.
He thought copying discs was minor offending and was shocked to find out how serious it was.
Judge Thomas said that although Waheed had never been in trouble with the law before, his “fruitless and dishonest” trial of issue, when he took up court time to challenge the prosecution case that he played a substantial role in the business, had not helped his cause.
Waheed was caught in sole charge of the shop and with the copying machine working hard to produce more fake DVDs.
“This offending causes vast losses to the film industry and no doubt adds to the cost of people who legitimately want to go to the cinema or to watch DVDs,” Judge Thomas said.
He conceded that others must have been involved but said that Waheed stood to make £9,600 from his criminality.
After the case, Bradford Councillor Val Slater said: “This is another successful result for West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service in its fight against those individuals involved in the manufacture and supply of counterfeit DVDs. It sends a strong message out to other shops still involved in this illegal activity.” David Lodge, of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, said the case was part of an ongoing campaign to eradicate counterfeit DVD shops in Bradford.
“We have a number of other court cases pending and further ongoing investigations and this result should serve as a warning to individuals involved in this illegal activity,” he said.